NC State

Freeman’s work overshadowed but not unnoticed for NC State

N.C. State's Lennard Freeman (10) fights for a rebound with Hofstra's Brian Bernardi (14) during the second half at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.
N.C. State's Lennard Freeman (10) fights for a rebound with Hofstra's Brian Bernardi (14) during the second half at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. ehyman@newsobserver.com

The only thing bad about N.C. State forward Lennard Freeman’s double-double against Jacksonville on Thursday was the timing.

Freeman put up good numbers but he was overshadowed by fellow big man BeeJay Anya, who blocked a school-record 10 shots.

Anya got the shine, which was fine by the unassuming Freeman, who has a knack for doing the little things and putting in the dirty work.

“I joked with him after practice he got all the attention,” Freeman said. “It’s cool, though, he deserves it.”

Freeman, a sophomore, had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the 79-43 rout of the Dolphins. It was the second career double-double for Freeman, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds in a win against Northwestern last season in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried pointed out Freeman had 13 rebounds in the Wolfpack’s 76-64 win against Hofstra on Monday. Gottfried hopes the production continues against South Florida on Sunday.

Freeman, 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds, has an agreement with Gottfried. If he rebounds, he gets minutes.

“He understands for him to play, he has to find his niche, and that’s his niche,” Gottfried said.

Freeman, a late addition in the recruiting cycle last year, was a revelation last season. He’s young for his class –he won’t turn 19 until Dec. 10 – and is still the youngest player on the team.

A three-star recruit out of Oak Hill, he worked his way into the rotation and and started 11 games and averaged 23.2 minutes per game. He was second on the team in rebounding with 5.7 per game.

After guards Trevor Lacey and Cat Barber carried the offense in the opener against Jackson State, Gottfried said he wanted more from his forwards.

Freeman fouled out against Jackson State and played only 14 minutes in the opener. In the two games since, has averaged 9.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

“Coach just wants us to do what we can to help the team,” Freeman said. “You’ll see more from us.”

Freeman’s rebounding style is reminiscent of Wolfpack forward Richard Howell, who led the ACC with 10.9 per game in 2012-13.

Like Howell, Freeman’s a tad undersized for the “4” position but has an ability to make up for his lack of height with hustle and positioning.

“(Howell) was tough,” Freeman said. “He was small, too. They said he was 6-8 but he was about 6-5 on a good day.

“But he was a freak, averaged 12 and 10. If I can do that, I’ll be alright.”

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