Bruce Weber has not had the best of luck with late recruiting additions since he took over as basketball coach at Kansas State, but that could change with Ron Freeman, an athletic shooting guard who orally committed to the Wildcats on Tuesday.
Freeman, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Los Angeles, says he is ready to help K-State in any way necessary as a freshman.
“People compare me to a Reggie Miller-type player with athleticism,” Freeman said by phone. “I can defend guards at the one, the two and the three. I have even defended the four man before, because of my wingspan. When I was younger and played AAU, I played the four and used footwork and things like that to defend taller guys.
“I don’t have a problem helping my team in those ways. I am just a winner. I will do anything to help my team win.”
Freeman says he developed that attitude, at least in part, because of a failed attempt at the Division I level directly out of high school. He originally signed with Cal State Fullerton, and was one of the top-rated incoming recruits in the Big West Conference, but he was ruled academically ineligible.
He opted for a year of prep school to improve his game and his grades, and the results paid off. In the last month, Freeman said he was ruled academically eligible and scored 30 points in a west coast showcase game, catching the attention of K-State’s coaching staff. They contacted him two weeks ago and arranged for him to visit campus last weekend.
Freeman was quickly sold.
“How could I say no?” Freeman said. “I feel like I will fit in pretty well. Coach Weber’s style is up tempo and I like that. That is where my game is at its best. I strive on up-tempo systems. I love the way his system is, how they defend and press and how hype they are. That is what made me fall in love with K-State basketball.”
Freeman is the final member of the Wildcats’ 2015 recruiting class, which now features seven players. K-State lost six underclassmen and two seniors last season. Weber signed six newcomers — freshmen Barry Brown, Isaiah Maurice, Kamau Stokes, Dean Wade, Dante Williams and junior-college transfer Carlbe Ervin — before the start of summer and promoted former walk-on Brian Rohleder to scholarship status, leaving his roster with one available spot.
Weber debated the value of using the last scholarship on the 2015 class vs. saving it for 2016. In past seasons he has taken chances on unheralded recruits Michael Orris and Jack Karapetyan late in the process, and both transferred after one season in search of increased playing time.
Freeman, who expects to arrive on campus in early July and play predominantly at shooting guard, expects to make a larger impact.
“My goal is to go down there and learn the game of basketball,” Freeman said. “I don’t expect to come in and be the star guy, but I am coming in to learn the system and to win. My main goal as a freshman is to help Kansas State get to the NCAA Tournament.”