- National Teams
Tommy Freeman believes Glasgow Rocks can build on their comeback win against Durham as they continue to gather momentum following their slow start to the season.
The American contributed 11 points to the 83-81 win on the road, which saw Glasgow recover from being 21 points down at half-time to pick up their third league victory in six.
“It was pretty crazy,” Freeman recalled. “It was probably the biggest comeback I’ve been a part of – just unbelievable.”
“We talked at half-time and had a mutual agreement that we would show desire and come out playing hard. We played better defence in the 2nd half and hit a lot more shots after coming in settling for outside jumpers.”
“JaJuan (Smith) really led us with his point guard leadership,” he added of his compatriot’s performance. “He stepped up big time, running the team which spurred everyone on.”
Looking ahead, Freeman is confident that the win can really push the Rocks forward as they look to improve upon their current 3-3 record when they take on Bristol next.
“It gives us momentum and we are already looking forward to pushing on. We weren’t happy with the way we played when we first lost to Bristol, but we are confident of getting above 500 for the first time.”
Freeman is averaging 15+ points per game in the league so far with a 3-point shooting percentage of just under 35, making 15 of 43 attempts. The 26 year-old has posted double figures in scoring in every league game with a season-high 24 point haul coming in a home win against Leicester.
And it’s the level of consistency in his performances he wants to develop whilst increasing his accuracy from beyond the arc.
“I’ve had ups and downs,” he admitted. “I’ve played really well at times and I’m now hoping to get to a level where I can come out and be steady and my team-mates know what to expect from me.
“I definitely want to shoot it better from the 3 and up my overall percentage. There’s always room for improvement and I want to become a better team-mate.”
The Ohio University graduate previously spent a season with the Worcester Wolves in 2011-12 and the chance to return to the BBL was one he simply could not pass up. A spell in the wilderness left Freeman unsure about his future in basketball so when Sterling Davis called to offer him a spot on the Rocks roster, he leapt at the opportunity.
“When I spoke to Sterling, I told him I was coming before he even finished speaking,” he said. “I was so excited about playing again. Not playing last season was difficult mentally because my future was uncertain and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.”
And it’s that element of the unknown that professional players face that Freeman is using as motivation, hoping to make the most of his latest venture.
“I know that I’m vying for limited number of overseas spots and I have to get better everyday. It’s a cut-throat business because you can be sent home at any time so that increases my motivation to want to keep improving.”
Returning to a familiar league has helped Freeman settle quickly with Glasgow and he also believes the BBL is much stronger than his last spell in the UK.
“There’s definitely a high level of comfortability knowing the teams and coaches so it’s an easy transition coming back here.
“The BBL has changed a lot,” he claimed. “The level of competition has ramped up with any team capable of beating anyone on any given night. Even the type of players – Taylor King was one of the top recruits coming out of High School and Demond Watt was an animal in college.”
The Rocks have a strong domestic core to their side after signing Danny Huffor, Tayo Ogedengbe, Ali Fraser and most recently Kieron Achara. The addition of the GB veteran coincided with a change of fortunes, after a slow start, with his 16.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds vital on both ends of the floor.
And Freeman praised the impact Achara is having both on and off the court.
“He has a really high level of knowledge and his leadership in practice is great. Having him is helpful to everyone else and definitely makes life easier for us.
Last season, Glasgow failed to live up to expectations by missing out on the playoffs after finishing in 10th place with a 13-20 record. A return to the post-season is the ultimate goal with Freeman also eyeing a few personal ambitions along with playing against his former club.
“Getting back to the playoffs for the Rocks needs to happen after the disappointment for the fan base and the whole organisation last year,” Freeman insisted. “Personally, I want to keep improving on my game and show people I can still play and be an asset on any team.”
“I’d also really like to play in a final. It would be huge for the club and for me, and it would mean a lot having not had that chance yet.”
“It will be great going back (to Worcester) and I’m looking forward to that game, not only because they are the defending (playoff) champions but also getting to play against guys I know and seeing PJ (Paul James) and the fans.”
Glasgow are still alive in the BBL Cup and take on Leicester in he quarter-finals in a game that will be broadcast live on BBL TV on November 23rd. Freeman will be hoping for another strong performance against the Riders as he continues to find his feet in the BBL once again.