NC State Wolfpack: Freeman Pair Pumped for New Era

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 30: Lennard Freeman
RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 30: Lennard Freeman /

With Kevin Keatts at the helm, the Wolfpack looks to make waves in the ACC with Lennard and Allerik Freeman leading the way.

After NC State fired previous head coach Mark Gottfried, Wolfpack nation lit up in excitement when the university named former UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts. Keatts earned the trust among his players immediately, and the Pack wants to take the program to the next level.

One of State’s biggest leaders returning for the season is Lennard Freeman. Missing last year due to complications from leg surgery, the Washington, D.C. native provides strong leadership and a dominant presence in the front court. After having to sit all season, Freeman is hungrier for success.

“Sitting out every game was like a film session,” Freeman said. “It was just a great experience, and that time off just made me more hungry since I wasn’t able to help my team out. Now, I work twice as hard. I don’t want to say I wish I could have done this or that. I want to leave it all out there.”

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Despite coming into the season with optimism, the pundits write the Pack off as a major contender. Considering how terrible the once-promising season ended last year, it’s no wonder. With that in mind, Freeman and company use that as a motivator.

“We have a lot of new pieces, so I’m not surprised that we’re not picked high,” Freeman said. “We can only go up from there. I’m a competitor. If you sit here and tell me that we’re 15th of 15 teams, then it’s just going to make me want to prove everyone wrong. Go ahead and pick us last, please.”

After Keatts entered the picture, another Freeman joined State’s ranks. Graduate transfer and former Baylor Bear Allerik Freeman will add another veteran to the Pack but in the back court. One of the biggest motivators for Al is his adaptation to adversity.

“I just try to take advantage of every single day,” Al Freeman said. “I think that we all go through adversity in life one way or one time or another. Some people go through adversity early on. Some people go through adversity later, and it’s just about how you respond to it. You just go through things in life that prepare you. What I’ve been through in the past is not the last time I’m going to go through adversity. We’re going to go through adversity multiple times in our life. The lessons that we learn help us prepare for future challenges, successes, and failures that we’ll have.”

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Keatts comes in to give the NC State fanbase something worth cheering. The new era of Wolfpack basketball starts Friday, Nov. 10 against VMI.