Sandy Spring’s Jason Friedman fills it up in career night

From Carl Parker’s perspective, the pass was a bit off and senior guard Jason Friedman was well beyond NBA three-point range when he caught it. So when the ball swished through the net early in Sandy Spring‘s Dec. 21 contest against Georgetown Day, the Wildebeests coach knew that this was no ordinary night for Friedman.

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By game’s end, Friedman had scored more points (46) and hit more three-pointers (10) in a game than any player in school history. But as Parker walked off the court in the wake of a 81-55 loss, Friedman demonstrated perhaps his most impressive act.

“He said that he thought the points would make him feel good but he was mad that we lost,” Parker recalled. “The fact that he didn’t care about the points and felt like he and his teammates could have done more was a great sign of maturity to me.”

Eight games into his senior season, it’s clear that Friedman is growing as an all-around player with the potential to reach his goal of playing at the college level.

The six-foot-three guard is averaging 25.7 points and has already knocked down 35 three-pointers (that’s about five per game). After twice besting his career-high with 29 points in a win and loss against Model and Grace-Brethren, respectively, Friedman’s confidence has grown to the point where his Dec. 21 outburst is in the realm of possibility on any given night.

“The defense would pick me up behind the three-point line, but Coach gave me the green light and I got confidence from that, so sometimes I pulled up from 25 feet,” Friedman said. “I was just trying to keep our team in the game.”

Sandy Spring senior Jason Friedman scored a school-record 46 points last month (Courtesy of Sandy Spring).
Sandy Spring senior Jason Friedman scored a school-record 46 points last month (Courtesy of Sandy Spring).

With co-captain and second-leading scorer Jason Lu (9.8 points per game) out of town, Friedman’s assertive approach was necessary against a strong Georgetown Day squad. And as he drained shot after shot, Parker thought back to his first encounter with Friedman in the summer, shortly after he had been hired as Sandy Spring’s new coach.

At that point, Parker, who had previously coached 17 years at the high school and college levels, thought he had seen all of his potential players. But as he walked in the gym one day, he noticed Friedman draining long three-pointer after long three-pointer while laughing and joking with his friends.

“I said, ‘Who is this kid and why hasn’t anyone told me about him yet?’” Parker said with a laugh. “But honestly, when he played his first game, he didn’t impress me as much. And that’s when I started pushing him. I’m not trying to create a ball hog, but he also needs to know that if he wants to play in college, he has to be able to dominate at the high school level.”

To develop Friedman’s skills and mentality, Parker challenges him to work on his ball handling and step up as a leader for the Wildebeests. Parker’s even taken his turn at guarding Friedman, all in the name of pushing his star to a higher standard. The fact that Friedman’s best output came against one of the Wildebeests’ toughest opponents thus far is a welcome sign for a player competing in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC) that doesn’t necessarily have the talent to stack up against the wealth of other standout teams in the D.C. metro area.

Still, colleges are starting to take notice. Friedman said he’s been contacted by a handful of Division II, III and NAIA schools, such as McDaniel, Norwich, Wilson (Pa.) and Worcester.

“In the past, I haven’t been the most athletic player, but I’ve been working on my speed and agility and getting in the weight room, and I can see myself getting quicker and faster,” Friedman said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but knowing I can have a game like my last one is definitely a boost to my confidence.”

Sandy Spring is scheduled to action Tuesday when it hosts Saint Anslem’s at 6 p.m.

NUMBER CRUNCH: 15
Minutes before the tipoff of Monday’s game at Poolesville that the Damascus girls’ basketball team arrived. The late arrival didn’t affect the area’s eighth-ranked team, as the Swarmin’ Hornets cruised to a 56-34 win. The victory comes two days after they knocked off then-No. 3 Paint Branch in the midst of their tough early schedule.

VIDEO OF THE DAY
Check out the top plays from Week 4 of the basketball season, including a nasty off-the-backboard dunk by Paul VI junior Joshua Reaves.

BREAKFAST LINKS
-Click here to see the this week’s Post Top 20 boys’ and girls’ basketball rankings.

-See who made this week’s boys’ and girls’ All-Met Watch.

-No. 11 Wise used its sizable arsenal to defeat defending 4A state champ Eleanor Roosevelt, 65-49, in Monday’s boys’ basketball action.

-Coolidge transfer Jamall Gregory is working to show that he’s more than just a human highlight reel on the court.

-Last week’s snow (and today’s frigid temperatures) have created a tough slate for Anne Arundel teams, some of which will play four games this week.

-South County has surged to a strong start under new coach Travis Hess and its ‘mayhem’ defensive pressure.

-After dwelling in the WCAC cellar last year, St. Mary’s Ryken has emerged as a contender behind the play of transfer Jarin Hilson.

-No. 5 Potomac (Va.) remains undefeated after sweeping through the Henrico Holiday Hoops Tournament competition that included a championship win against the host and defending state champs.

-Springbrook entered the boys’ rankings this week, thanks to the play of twins Andrew and Aaron Robinson and a strong supporting cast.

-Mercedes Suarez and Tytilayo Green have helped Wilson get off to a strong start in DCIAA girls’ hoops play.

-T.C. Williams girls’ basketball team is still searching for consistency as it navigates through a tough early-season slate.

-Junior forward Nicole Gregory has grown from a cheerleader who couldn’t make a lay-up to a key contributor for the Westlake girls’ team this year.

-After falling hard to Maret in last year’s MAC playoffs, The Potomac School has used that shortcoming as motivation during this season’s strong start.

-Dominion’s Colin Jeffrey is filling it up from the outside with 34 three-pointers through 11 games this season.

-Despite being outsized by most opponents, the Central Falcons have flown to the top of the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A standings with strong play in the paint.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY…unless the cold weather postpones this game (When did the temperature become equivalent to a snowstorm?!?)
Boys’ basketball: Largo at Central, 7:15 p.m.

One night after knocking off No. 10 Potomac (Md.), Largo looks to maintain its spot atop the Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A standings when it visits the Falcons.

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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