Freije makes debut with Nashville Rhythm

Former Vandy basketball star <B>Matt Freije</b> scored 30 points Friday in his debut with the Nashville Rhythm, a 96-94 win for the local ABA franchise. Here's a transcript of the postgame press conference, which includes comments from head coach <B>Ashley McElhiney</b>, as well as Freije.

Comments from Nashville Rhythm head coach Ashley McEhiney:

Q: How is Matt doing?

A: With this league's up-tempo and fast pace, I think it takes a couple of practices and a couple of games to get the conditioning and get used to it. But for the most part I thought he did a good job.

Q: Do you hope to make Matt a permanent part of team?

A: We are going to wait until after tomorrow night to try and figure things out. Right now it's just tonight, tomorrow night, and after that game we'll sit down and evaluate, both of us, and see what's best for everyone.

Q: How was his game tonight?

A: I thought for his first game coming home and playing with some guys he was really familiar with and some he wasn't, he kept up. For coming in the first day of practice and learning all the offenses and defense, he did pretty well.


Comments from Matt Frieje:

Q: How are you tonight?

A: I'm in good shape, I just got back at 5 in the morning this morning. I just made the road trip between New Orleans and here last night, I just got a little too juiced up on coffee last night and was cramping up today.

Q: In your calves?

A: Yeah, all over my legs!

Q: So what is this for you, an experiment or what?

A: Honestly right now, it's just coming out and playing two games with [the Rhythm] and having fun trying to win two ball games. I didn't know they were playing a Kansas City team, and it was a lot of fun. I played high school basketball against a couple of those guys, so it was a lot of fun to be out there with those guys.

Q: Did it help because you knew their game a little bit?

A: I knew Jet's game; he'd bulldoze me over whenever I'd shoot a layup and that's what he was doing tonight.

Q: How can you use these two games to get where you want to be?

A: Just to keep playing. I mean, you can't play enough. I practiced with the Vandy team a couple times, just trying to help them in practice. I just need to stay ready and hopefully get called up by somebody, or if something presents itself, then I'm ready for that too. We'll just see what happens. It's kind of a waiting game. It stinks, but that's what it is. I'm getting my first taste of the NBA and what it's all about.

Q: How much is different? Lifestyle or style of play?

A: I don't want to be on an NBA team for the money or playing in front of a big crowd or anything like that. To me it's more of a pride thing to know that I should be out there with them. They are the 450 best players in the world and I just want to be one of them. That's my goal.

Q: How does game action help you stay sharp?

A: It helps a lot. You can go out and shoot as many jump shots as you want, but it's not the same if you're not being contested and you find that you're a little bit tired, so this helps a lot.

Q: Were those Miami Heat shoes you had on tonight?

A: No, I don't remember where I got those shoes from. No, they're just a pair of shoes.

Q: What have the guys at the NBA level told you that you need to improve on to stick?

A: The best advice I've gotten is from Pat Riley. When I went to his office when they released me, he told me don't worry about being a four, being a three, just work on being the best player you can be. If you're a player then you can find a team and find your niche and you'll be able to make it. So I'm trying to become just a player. I just need to keep working on it.

Q: Did you get any advice from Shaq?

A: Jump when he jumps, is the best advice I got from him.

Q: What did it feel like playing for Ashley Mac, someone you know?

A: It was fun. I've known her for five years now, since I've been at Vandy. She did a good job and the whole coaching staff did. So hopefully we'll win again tomorrow.

Q: What was it like playing in front of a home crowd again?

A: It was fun having my girlfriend there and some of the guys from the team there. It was a lot of fun. Top Stories