2005 Spotlight: Mike Freeman

When Montrose Christian comes to town, most recruiting fanatics think of two words -- Linas Kleiza. And that's certainly normal. The bruising 6-foot-8 power forward is among the best 35 players in the nation and he's arguably the best available big man in the entire nation.

And while fans are enjoying Kleiza's display of strength, aggression and skill in the paint, they might also just happen to notice someone else on the floor for Montrose Christian. And it may be the young fella that wears jersey No. 21, Mike Freeman.

Freeman, a 6-8 forward with the ability to play in the paint or on the perimeter is only a sophomore. But since he's a very talented sophomore, he's receiving high volumes of attention from some elite programs in the country.

And, yes -- Carolina is one of them.

We caught up with Montrose Christian head coach Stu Vetter last weekend and got his thoughts on the talented forward:

"He's 6-8 and he can run the floor real well," Vetter said. "He's got a lot of potential, I think, he's going to be a big time player. An ACC-level player."

Vetter also talked about the early interest in Freeman.

"They're all already recruiting him," he said. "NC State, Maryland, Duke, Carolina."

We questioned him, specifically, about UNC:

"They've been up to see him. They like him a lot," he answered.

The lanky and athletic forward had some impressive moments a week ago at the Super Saturday Slamfest in Ashland, Virginia. Coming off the bench for Vetter's squad, Freeman was hyper-active on the glass, particularly the offensive end, where he got several stick-backs. He uses his quick feet and long arms to maneuver around the paint and corral rebounds as well as stymie the opposition on defense.

When shooting the ball, we loved the form on his jumper, as he had a smooth release and plenty of backspin. And he's left-handed which sometimes changes the way that folks will defend him, forcing them into positions that are not instinctive to a basketball player.

Freeman, who just turned 16, is originally from a small school in northern Virginia called Hayfield High School. He transferred to Montrose last season because of the level of basketball and the additional opportunities that could await him after high school.

"He's a real good athlete," said David Adkins, Vetter's personable assistant coach. "He had two big time dunks last week. That kid has a lot of potential."

So, lets see -- that's athletic, aggressive, long-armed, loads of potential, nice looking jumper, left-handed, six-foot-eight and yet only a sophomore. It certainly sounds like someone to keep an eye on.

And that's certainly what the basketball staff in Chapel Hill plans to do with Freeman.

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