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Al Freeman is stuck in a regression that won’t last

Which is a good thing.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Tennessee vs North Carolina State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Al Freeman came to NC State with the intent of being the leader at the offensive end, and he’s been the guy who the team looks to as the shot clock winds down. He can create his own shot, to a reasonable degree, and he is big enough to threaten opposing defenses by taking it to the rack. But this is also a new role for Freeman, who had the good fortune of playing off the ball in a secondary role at Baylor.

Freeman In Context

Freeman FT% 2FG% 3FG%
Freeman FT% 2FG% 3FG%
2018 75 44.3 24.5
2017 82.8 46.5 37.4

Freeman this season has shouldered the highest workload of his college career, but I wouldn’t say he is forcing it—he’s tasked with being more assertive, and he’s been that, but I don’t think he’s forgotten that there are other players on his team. His jump shots simply are not falling, which runs in complete contradiction to his college career up to this point.

Freeman shot 38% from three as a sophomore at Baylor and 37.4% as a junior, when he wasn’t relied on as a primary bread-winner. Has his role changed in Raleigh? Sure. Has that had an impact on his true three-point shooting percentage? Probably not. If it has, the impact is certainly not to the degree on record.

He’ll rebound from this, and NC State will be much better for it. And State needs him to be better from the perimeter, regardless of the circumstances.

Eventually the open looks are going to result in some routine makes. If he happens to be saving all of this for league play, that’s fine.