Matt Freeman’s secondary school career was finished: Down by 16 points with six minutes to play in the National Secondary School Quarterfinals. At least that’s what he thought as he drove to the basket and drew what probably felt like a meaningless foul.
Only it was the right player, who fouled him. Freeman’s Westlake team rallied back after the opponent’s top scorer fouled out of the game. In the final three games of his high school career, Freeman scored a combined 135 points. He averaged 12 rebounds in the semifinals and championship game.
Freeman, a three-star forward out of New Zealand who committed to Oklahoma in early August, credited his teammates with his 47- and 50-point outputs, but when the final whistle of the championship game blew, it signified the end of one chapter in his life and the beginning of the next.
Everything basketball for the next few months is about Oklahoma, before he officially arrives in Norman.
“This is the real grind time now, just getting in the gym as much as I can and hitting the weights as much as I can,” said Freeman, who will also spend time with friends and family he won’t see after he leaves. “Just preparing myself as much as I can for what’s to come. I know that as soon as I get to Oklahoma things are just going to skyrocket in terms of intensity and workload.
“I’m just going to be ready for that and be mindful that things are going to change.”
Freeman plans on being on campus in mid-January, something he said is an almost certainty at this point. He’ll redshirt but practice with the Sooners, who could be in the middle of a Big 12 Conference championship by the time the 6-foot-10 forward gets to campus.
For now, Freeman’s routine will change. Team basketball won’t be a focus, although he said he might find an open gym if he can. Instead, he and individual coach Dave Mackay will break down tape that the Oklahoma coaching staff sent them.
“We’ll be quite specific on what we’ll do,” said Mackay, who went on Freeman’s official visit with him and said afterward that he knew Freeman ‘picked the right school.’ “He’s going to go over there and be ready to jump in their system.”
http://www.scout.com/college/oklahoma/story/1574887-matt-freeman-takes-d... The specific list includes: More work off the dribble and attacking the basket. Along with getting up plenty of shots to keep Freeman’s perimeter-oriented game sharp, Mackay said they’ll also work extensively on attacking the basket and getting to the rim.
Freeman will even work on his post play, even though Mackay didn’t think Freeman would play much post at Oklahoma.
“We’ll put a lot of shots up, get him to expand his skill set, which is really coming along quickly now,” Mackay said. “He’ll be working hard. He’s pretty keen to push himself to be even better.”
Freeman took a lot of shots before the final tournament of his career, which included a surprising loss in pool play. Knowing it was going to be his last chance, Freeman built on the mentality of playing his role as Westlake’s primary scorer to the fullest.
He found his groove, one that Mackay said will fit Oklahoma’s style pretty well. Staying in that groove during the next three months will be important.
“I’m just going to have to prepare myself as best as I can,” Freeman said. “These next few months, I’m just going to do that to the best that I know how. Just get myself ready.”