2016 signee forward Matt Freeman joins Oklahoma Sooners at mid-season

6-foot-9 Kiwi hopes to learn in his first semester on Norman campus

The last two months have been tough for Matt Freeman as he trained to come to Oklahoma but also said goodbye to his family and friends back home in New Zealand.

He worked on his one-dribble pull-up and prepared for the five months that he’ll be away from family. But he’s ready to be at Oklahoma. He recalled the triple overtime loss to Kansas saying that “we just got unlucky” but has held off calling Oklahoma players too much over the last month, chuckling when saying that they have big things to worry about.

Freeman has walked a fine line, but soon, those will be his worries too.

Oklahoma’s first member of the 2016 class arrived in Norman on Wednesday and is set to begin practicing with the team – potentially as early as Monday.

“I’m feeling good at the moment,” Freeman said. “I’m just ready to start training with the guys.”

Freeman spent the final days before coming to campus vacationing with his family in Los Angeles and Mexico. The weight of being so far away from home for five months is becoming a more real concept. He said it was pretty tough not knowing when he would see some of his friends and family again.

But he’s ready to practice. He’s ready to play for a coaching staff that is producing results for its players.

“You know what they’re capable of,” he said. “You just have to put the time and effort in. It’ll be a returnable favor. I’m just excited to start working with them and working with the guys. They’re having a great season. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Freeman has been working on attacking the basket for months in preparation for more of the style he’ll have to play with the Sooners. Still a very talented, natural shooter, Freeman has developed his game with the help of individual skills coach Dave Mackay.

He’ll have another teacher during his first semester on campus.

Ryan Spangler will be in his last semester at Oklahoma, so Freeman knows he has only a little bit of time to pick Spangler’s brain to try and learn anything Spangler will teach him.

“Everything that he’s learned, I can benefit from,” Freeman said. “Any time I’m on the sideline, I’ll be watching what he does. I can learn all I can from him and try to improve my game as fast as I can, which is going to help me in the long run.”

For five months, Freeman will be away from his family and his home. He likely won’t play the first semester, only bolstering Oklahoma’s practice squad and scout team. Freeman will be away from New Zealand, but he’s hoping to bring a little bit to Norman.

“I’m excited to just put my culture into that team as well,” Freeman said. “They’ve never had a Kiwi play for the. That’s something I think will be fun for me – and fun for them too.”


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