Claim to fame: A three-year starter for the Lady Knights, the 6-foot Freeman has been an integral part of Harker Heights’ offense since she was a sophomore. Freeman, who signed a letter of intent to play at the University of New Mexico on Nov. 15, suffered her right torn anterior cruciate ligament during the offseason and then re-tore it shortly before the start of the season.
First off, how is the knee?
“I’m three months out (from surgery), and I guess I can tell the difference now than when I initially started. It’s getting stronger and I’m allowed to do a lot more than I did in the beginning. It’s just a process.”
You underwent two surgeries in a matter of six months. What happened?
“Bad luck. That’s all I can call it, bad luck. (I was) trying to do too much too soon I guess, but that’s just the type of person I am to work hard all the time.”
Then what’s this senior season been like for you relegated to the sideline?
“It’s a lot of learning. Even over the summer I watched a lot of basketball, and I think it’s only making me better. Even though I can’t step out on the court, I see a lot of things I used to do when I was younger that I corrected over the year. I feel like it’s only making me a better basketball player.”
At this point have you completely written off playing this year?
“No. It’s pretty much up to me. It just depends on how hard I work. Because as soon as the strength is 85 percent of the left (knee), then I’m pretty much good to go.”
Where would you say you’re at now?
“Between somewhere like 50-65 (percent). I’m just limited to the cutting and the jumping, and that’s really what’s stopping me right now and I don’t want to push it.”
How’s it feel out there at practice right now?
“It feels good. I’m a little out of shape, but it feels good.”
What can you actually do out there in practice?
“Run, and shoot. All the conditioning drills that involve shooting and running, I’ve been doing those.”
What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through this experience?
“Patience. Good things do come to those who wait.”
As a competitor, what’s it been like to sit and watch your team go through its ups and downs already this season?
“It’s frustrating because it’s like a step backwards — it’s like how last year’s group used to be when I was a freshman and a sophomore.”
What do you do to help with some of their troubles?
“I talk to them on the bench, because I know as a coach, there’s a lot going on at one time, so it’s kind of hard to focus on the little things. So the things I do see that Coach (Shirretha) Nelson doesn’t, I try to help (the players) correct them.”
What’s been your best advice for the girls trying to fill your absence in the post?
“I try to tell them to work hard. If it’s not for themselves, then work for the person sitting next to you or work hard for me.
Because it’s my senior year and I’ve gone from my freshman year and I kind of feel it’s being handed to him and they haven’t really worked for it.
Whereas I had to play behind people before I was ever successful.
“And they’re in a position to be successful, and they’re not reaping the benefits.”
How much of what you’re doing now working toward your future at New Mexico?
“All of it. I have to get better somehow. I have to get my strength back and I have to get my wind back. All of this is preparing me for then.”
Contact Alex Byington at email@example.com or (254) 501-7566