Trabuco Hills High School

Hard work pays off: The Spencer Freedman story

Nationally acclaimed high school point guard, Santa Monica native and Mater Dei star Spencer Freedman aims to be great in everything he does.

Spencer attended Santa Monica High School his freshman year, before transferring to national powerhouse Mater Dei. Last year, during his sophomore season, he won Trinity League MVP honors and was named to the Open Division’s All CIF 1st Team.

This year as a junior for Mater Dei, Freedman averaged 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per game, which was second in the Trinity League. Spencer also shot 47% from the field, good for third best in the Trinity. He was named to the All CIF Southern Section 1st team for a second straight season.

While he doesn’t participate in much social media, he loves the movies Space Jam and White Men Can’t Jump, and thinks, “some white men can actually jump wouldn’t say I’m an example of this, but maybe one day I’ll get there.”

He wants to major in Business, Political Science, or Law, and has visions of one day becoming president of the United States.

He has official offers from USC, UCSB, Harvard, Princeton, Cal State Northridge, and Rice. Freedman also recently received an offer from the University of Washington, whose new head coach, Mike Hopkins, played on Mater Dei’s 1987 state championship team.

There are many things Spencer acknowledges he can improve on, both on and off the floor. “As a basketball player I need to get better with everything, especially leadership and encouraging my teammates.”

image uploaded from ios 1 Hard work pays off: The Spencer Freedman storyGoing forward, Spencer has many strong elements to his game, but needs to improve his body for Mater Dei to take the next step. “I need to get stronger and faster, and make sure that I’m fully engaged every possession into the game and not holding back.”

“When things aren’t going right, I just try to find positives out of everything.”

Freedman credits his perseverance to simply working hard. “Obviously, I don’t have the ideal body type or physical abilities, but I’ve always just tried to work at it everyday. If I’m not working out or training, there’s always somebody that is.”

Basketball players are notoriously superstitious. Freedman is no different.

“Before the start of every game, right before tip-off, I shoot an imaginary shot on our side so that I’m facing the basket we’re going to. I’ll watch some film, and then go up to Mater Dei to get shots up for about 60 to 90 minutes,” he said.

On the court, Freedman sports red and white Nike socks, along with Kyrie 3 shoes.

“For the entire playoffs I’ve been wearing the Kyrie 3’s, so I’m definitely going to keep that going.”

Whenever Freedman struggles with his shot, he’s always focuses on staying confident. “If I miss a couple shots, I just have to believe the next one is going in.”

“Passing up open shots is almost worse than missing them, it’s all about keeping confidence.”

In this month’s state tournament, Mater Dei cruised past Westchester and St. Augustine in the first two rounds of state, however Spencer struggled with his outside shot. Against Westchester, he shot 25% despite a Mater Dei victory.

Freedman is tasked with the challenge of being an extension of the coach on the floor, while also scoring individually. Throughout the Saint Augustine game, Spencer continued to shoot poorly (2/12), but again guided his team to victory by making an impact in other aspects.

 

After their two victories, Spencer and his team are faced with the ultimate challenge. Bishop Montgomery awaits in the regional finals, for a rematch of the CIF title game, which Mater Dei lost on March 4th.

For Mater Dei to defeat Montgomery, Spencer must shoot the ball well and play aggressive from start to finish. Just as he does every game, Freedman goes through his pregame ball handling drills, shoots his imaginary shot, and the action is underway.

In the first few minutes, Spencer does a solid job of running the show for Mater Dei and gets off to a fast start, driving into the lane and pulling up for a jumper. As a unit, the Monarchs struggle to take care of the ball and trail 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter begins with Spencer doing more of the same, and he’s more focused on keeping the team afloat then scoring himself. Montgomery has an early 15-13 lead, and Mater Dei needs Freedman to score some points.

In an instant, Spencer starts to get on a roll. Driving down the middle at full speed, he draws the foul and converts on two free throws. After a stop at the other end, Spencer travels right down the lane again for two more. A Montgomery basket forces Mater Dei to respond, and Freedman scores again, drawing another foul and nailing two more free throws. With Spencer asserting himself, Mater Dei gains an 18-15 lead. Struggles by his team impact the halftime score, as Mater Dei trails 23-22.

To start the second half, Freedman makes a big defensive play, taking a charge to swing momentum back in Mater Dei’s favor. Spencer continues his hot shooting streak, driving and scoring to give his team a 26-23 lead. Bishop comes back with a run of their own, but a combination of Spencer and senior forward Justice Sueing keep Mater Dei up three.

Montgomery begins the fourth quarter on an incredible run, knocking down almost every shot. Spencer misses a floater, and Bishop scores a three on the other end to go up seven. Sueing (21 points) fouls out with just over one minute remaining, and back to back offensive fouls seal Mater Dei’s fate. Spencer (16 points) and his team don’t make enough plays down the stretch, falling to Montgomery for a second time, 60-53.

image uploaded from ios 2 Hard work pays off: The Spencer Freedman story

Freedman just finished his junior season, and has most of his teammates returning next year as seniors. “Our chemistry will be really good next year after playing a full season together in such big games.”

Spencer Freedman has gone through many trials and tribulations during the first three years of his high school career, and is still in search of capturing that elusive state championship. Looking towards his senior season at Mater Dei, Spencer knows what he must do. “It’s all about making sure I’m giving my all every play.”

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