Fran McCaffery has slowly but surely been moving the Iowa roster to what he has been desiring since he arrived in Iowa City. That’s been a move to 4-5 largely interchangeable parts with long, athletic players who can play multiple positions and shoot it from all over.
One place that can be hard to find a serviceable prospect is in the post. Long, athletic bigs who can shoot the ball are typically highly sought after and in today’s NIL landscape, they come with a hefty price tag.
But that’s exactly what Fran has found in Illinois big man Owen Freeman, who signed his letter of intent to play for the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
Freeman is a 6’10” stretch big who has the length and athleticism to alter shots and play garbage man in the middle, combined with a solid mix of back-to-the-basket skills and a nice stroke from deep. Those skills garnered the Bradley, Illinois native loads of attention on the recruiting trail.
An AAU teammate of fellow Iowa signee Brock Harding at MidPro Academy, Freeman held offers from Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin in addition to the Hawkeyes.
Now, however, Freeman is focused on his future with Iowa. That started with the decision to transfer to Moline High School to team up with AAU teammate Harding on the prep circuit.
The two make an incredible duo, both capable of taking their man off the bounce or knocking it down from outside. They also have a tremendous feel for each other’s game, which leads to loads of assists from Harding to Freeman.
2023 6’10 Owen Freeman has committed to Iowa! Highlights with @MidProAcademy on @ny2lasports Circuit @_OwenFreeman @IsaacDennis_2 @414BClay @ChadELewis2 @MHS_Boys_ @G_SullivanMPA @IowaHoops pic.twitter.com/4xY8fowB8s— NY2LASPORTS.TV (@NY2LASPORTSTV) October 11, 2021
In addition to his abilities as a shooter, Freeman shows more athleticism than Iowa has had from a true post player in some time. He has the height of Luka Garza with some glimpses of the footwork, but with much better leaping ability and lateral quickness.
Freeman uses those features to finish with thunderous dunks through traffic, go up and get lobs from Harding and other teammates and alter shots in a way that Iowa has not been able to do outside the Murray twins the last few seasons.
Couple that with the shooting ability on a 6’10” frame that grew two inches in the last year and you have yourself the quality of big man that Fran has craved during his tenure. Stick him beside a group of slashing, sharpshooting wings like Patrick McCaffery and the Sandfort brothers and you have a very difficult player to defend.
Freeman will arrive in Iowa City presumably as the Hawkeyes’ third big man. Iowa currently is slated to return senior-to-be Josh Ogundele, who tested the transfer portal last offseason, as well as junior-to-be Riley Mulvey. Freeman appears more skilled than either of the current bigs on the roster and may find himself playing meaningful minutes as a true freshman in Iowa City.
Welcome aboard, officially, Owen Freeman!