With DeMatha center BeeJay Anya in foul trouble and Team Takeover in need of a spark during its first game of the tournament, Freeman scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. In the evening session, he led Team Takeover with 16 points.
Perhaps more impressively, Freeman is shooting a tournament-high 80 percent from the floor after day one and is tied for fifth in rebounding average, with 10 per game. Though his team lost both of its games Thursday, the performances at one of the biggest events on the AAU circuit cemented Freeman’s status as a rising prospect in the Washington area.
“In Peach Jam, you have to pick up the intensity,” Freeman said. “I let the game come to me and didn’t try to force anything. I just played hard today.”
College coaches are taking notice. Freeman recently picked up his most high profile scholarship offer to date when Memphis became involved in his recruitment. Freeman said he currently has 11 scholarship offers, and listed UAB, George Washington, Drexel and Siena as his favorites alongside the Tigers.
He’s also hopeful some of the bigger schools in the Washington area, such as Georgetown, Maryland and Virginia, become involved now that he’s surging during the most important time of the AAU season.
“It’s just exciting,” Freeman said. “I went a while without any offers. I kept telling people, ‘I’m playing good, but I’m waiting for my first offer.’ Then Towson offered me and it’s started picking up.”
Freeman isn’t the only St. John’s player performing well this week, either. Point guard Tre Campbell, who plays on Team Takeover’s under-16 team, has shown a coolness running the team at his first-ever Peach Jam and that has piqued the interest of some high major schools.
Campbell said the biggest key for him was getting the “freedom” to show off his skill set and distribute the ball to teammates playing in an environment with less structure. The rising junior only has scholarship offers from George Washington, Towson and Kennesaw State at this point, but that could change if he continues his improvement these final few days of the tournament.
Regardless, Campbell believes his ascension, along with Freeman’s strong play, bodes well for St. John’s and new coach Sean McAloon.
“I think we’re on the rise,” Campbell said. “I think it’ll be us and Paul VI this year.”
Related: Lennard Freeman 2011-12 stats