Sam Freeman is one of four freshman joining the Minnesota Golden Gophers as part of the 2019-2020 recruiting class. He was a late developer, putting on 20 pounds and growing two inches in between his junior and senior seasons. He also only played two years of high school basketball. He comes to Minnesota from Northwest High School in Dallas, Texas after averaging 13.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game during his senior season.
Freeman, considered a defensive center with plenty of raw athleticism, measures in at 6’10” and 240 pounds. Supposedly, he is still growing and some people think he might end up being 7’0” when all is said and done. He will wear #32 this season for the Golden Gophers.
Freeman had a triple double against Plan West High School during his senior season in 2018-2019 recording 22 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocks. He also broke his school’s single-game and season records for rebounds his senior season.
What can we expect?
Sam comes to Minnesota looking for playing time early. Due to the injury to Eric Curry and the lack of depth at the center position on the roster, he very well might get it. According to one of Sam’s basketball mentors Mathis Crowder, Freeman is, “a player they don’t make too much anymore. A rebounder, defender, hustle guy who will do all the dirty work... He’s a loyal kid, hardworking kid and has no excuses. He just does it.”
If what Crowder says is true, then sign me up. Freeman is a long, active, athletic body but he still will require some development on the offensive side of the ball. While the mid-range game is slowly developing, don’t expect to see much refinement in Sam’s mid-range and outside game this season as a freshman, especially as he adapts to the speed of play and the vigors of Big Ten basketball. His current skill set will still be a valuable addition to this roster as his natural size and aggressiveness on the boards should help Daniel Oturu garner rebounds for a team that doesn’t have much height up and down the roster.
I think Freeman is the type of player that may take a while to break into the rotation of players that get heavy minutes to start out the season but as time goes on may see more and more playing time as the game begins to slow down for him. I am always appreciative of high-effort players and it seems based off of feedback from those around him, as well as in scouting reports that Sam is going to be very high-energy from day one. It will be interesting to watch his skill development over his time as a Gopher.