Austin Freeman of Georgetown Big East Preseason Player of the Year
Georgetown guard Austin Freeman was awarded preseason Player of the Year honors, as well as selection on the preseason first team all-conference team, at Wednesday's Big East media day at Madison Square Garden. Just as important, he received a clean bill of health from head coach John Thompson III.
"He's completely healthy,'' Thompson said. "As I said at the end of last year, he's willing to monitor himself. He's done that and he understands that. We don't anticipate any issues.''
Asked if there were any more medical-clearance hurdles Freeman faced before regular-season play began, Thompson said, "None at all, zero.''
The 6-foot-3 Freeman averaged 16.5 points overall and 19.5 in conference play; in all games, he shot 52.5 percent from the floor and 85.6 percent from the line. He was a second-team all-Big East player at the end of last season.
Freeman spoke to the assembled media before individual interviews began, after being introduced by Big East commissioner John Marinatto. "It's been a privilege to play and compete against the players and coaches in this room,'' Freeman said. "You represent the best college basketball has to offer.''
Joining Freeman on the first team are guards Kemba Walker of Connecticut, Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh, Jeremy Hazell of Seton Hall and Corey Fisher of Villanova, and forward Kevin Jones of West Virginia. Freeman, Fisher and Hazell are seniors, the rest juniors.
Syracuse center Fab Melo was picked as preseason rookie of the year.
Least surprised at Freeman's honor was his senior backcourt mate, friend since childhood and second-team all-Big East choice Chris Wright.
"Austin is probably the most dominant, most efficient scorer in the Big East. He can score when he wants to, any way he wants,'' Wright said. "If he wins Big East Player of the Year, that means we're doing pretty good.''