The anchor of Richmond Senior men’s basketball team’s frontcourt is junior starting power forward Will Freeman. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Freeman is the Raiders’ leading scorer through six games this season, averaging 16.0 points per game.
Freeman has helped Richmond jump out to a 5-1 record.
Though there are some who may be surprised by the Raiders fast start, Freeman believes Richmond had the parts going into the season to be a quality team.
He is confident that the Raiders’ success will continue.
“When we got started, I knew we had guys that could play, and we came in with the right attitude,” Freeman said. “As a team, we’ve worked hard in practice, and we’ve developed real good chemistry and that has carried over in games.”
Last season, Freeman started the year on the J.V. team, but finished the 2008-09 season playing the last eight games on the varsity squad.
He believes getting that experience was valuable.
“I was able to get used to the speed of the game, and how more physical the other guys are on this level,” Freeman said.
“I really wasn’t quite ready to play varsity last season, but this year, I knew what to expect.”
Freeman scored a career-high 24 points in the Raiders’ 60-51 victory over Anson County Dec. 14. But according to Freeman, his best game so far was in Richmond’s season-opening 74-58 win against South View.
Freeman had a huge double-double of 25 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
“That game was a good confidence-builder for me because I was able to score a lot of points, but that was also my best game on the boards,” Freeman said.
“I was able to help the team win in more than one area.”
The ability to score around the rim has been the main reason to Freeman’s early offensive success.
“The guys are doing a pretty good job of getting the ball into me, and I think, I’m finishing around the basket well,” Freeman said. “Hopefully, that’s something I will continue to do well.”
Freeman said his signature move in the post is his right-handed hook shot.
Raiders coach David Laton believes Freeman has the proper fundamentals to be a solid interior offensive player.
“Will has good foot work, and we’re working with him to get better with that,” Laton said. “To be a good scorer in the post, you can’t just rely on one move. He’s working hard developing moves such as a turn-around shot, step-back jumper and also up-and-under moves.”
Freeman knows it takes more than scoring to be considered an all-around player. He admits rebounding is a glaring part of his game that needs improvement.
Freeman is averaging seven rebounds per contest, which Laton said should be higher.
“He and I both know he needs to get better on the glass,” Laton said.
“He should be pulling down double-digits in rebounding in about every game. It’s just a matter of getting good position and boxing out better.”
Freeman added there are also some defensive shortcomings that he’s working on to make himself a better well-rounded player.
“I’ve got to get a lot better defensively,” Freeman said. “I’ve got to get my feet quicker because opponents have been known at times to get past me with that first quick step, causing me to reach and get bad fouls. It’s just one of several things that I try to keep improving at in practice.”
According to Laton, Freeman’s best qualities are his good attitude and good feel for the game.
Laton added that Freeman is a good free-throw shooter and has improved his ball handling in the open court.
Laton explained Freeman’s size is an essential part to Richmond, especially with he and fellow junior 6-foot-6 center Jide Reddick being the two tallest players on the team.
“We’re not a big team, and we really need both of those guys to be consistent for us inside,” Laton said.
“I think our guys know how important Will has been to our success so far, and hopefully, he will continue to provide us a good presence in the post.”
While reserved off the court, Freeman said he is different on the floor.
“When I’m not playing, I’m pretty quiet and I try to stay out of trouble,” he said. “On the court, I like to bring the passion, something just comes out of me and I think it picks everybody else up.”
Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail email@example.com.