Class of 2023 forward Owen Freeman had been hearing from Indiana going back to the prior coaching staff, but like a lot of schools, IU has picked up its interest in the rising incoming junior significantly this summer.
Assistant coach Dane Fife came to an event to watch Freeman recently, and that led to his unofficial visit to Bloomington on Monday.
“They showed some interest after they watched me play last weekend, and I’m definitely interested in them, so I decided it would be great for me to come out and take an unofficial visit there,” Freeman told The Daily Hoosier.
While on the visit, Indiana became at least the eighth high major program to offer Freeman a scholarship in June alone.
The 6-foot-9 Freeman attends Bradley-Bourbonnais High School (Bradley, Ill.) and plays travel ball for the Mid-Pro Academy AAU program. He father was an NAIA All-American at Olivet Nazarene University.
When Rivals issued its top-100 for the class of 2023 earlier this month, Freeman made his first appearance in the national rankings at No. 93. In addition to IU, Freeman holds scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Butler, Marquette, Purdue, Wisconsin and Wake Forest.
While it is still very early in his fast-rising recruitment, Freeman left IU impressed — particularly with the coaching staff.
“I love coach Woodson, I love what he is trying to do with the program,” Freeman said. “I love the campus there, and they have some great food there too. But just the whole coaching staff. I love all of them. They are very open, they said they are going to push me if I go there, and help me to go towards my dreams. I really just enjoyed my time with them.”
Freeman picked up an offer from Illinois last year, but for the most part he has gone from a relative unknown to a prospect who is being recruited by virtually the entire Big Ten.
“It’s very exciting but I am trying to just take it all in,” he said. “It has all been one rush, it has just been crazy this last month with everything going on — in a good way. It’s truly a blessing.”
There wasn’t much high school basketball in Illinois last season, so Freeman’s rise has coincided with the spring and summer travel circuit. There coaches have seen a big-framed prospect with skills, athleticism and the versatility to fit the modern game.
“I play a lot back-to-the-basket, very confident in the post,” Freeman told The Daily Hoosier. “I’ve gotten compliments that I play an old style in the post being able to work down there. But I am able to stretch the floor and I feel like I can be pretty versatile, and that’s something a lot of coaches have highlighted from my game. Just being able to shoot the three, and take the board and dribble it down and being able to pass at my size.”
Freeman is projecting as a hybrid 4-5 right now, and coaches see that versatility on both ends of the floor.
“They like that I am able to guard some guards, as well as guard some guys bigger than me,” he added.
Indiana got Freeman on campus relatively early in his recruitment, and they will be challenged in a highly competitive and rapidly expanding field of suitors.
IU made a good first impression on Monday, but time will tell if this was a visit that will have a lasting impression.
“I’m not really narrowing down or anything like that, but I do really like them a lot,” Freeman said of Indiana.
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