SAMOHI — “Spencer Freedman is weighing options,” read one L.A. Times headline last year. Hoops fans on Twitter and web forums speculated about where he’d choose to play.
Freedman wasn’t an NBA star in free agency or even a high school senior deciding on a Division I college. He was an incoming high school freshman.
Earlier this year he made his decision: Santa Monica High School.
Freedman and his family, originally from Pacific Palisades, moved to Santa Monica this year — a decision that, he said, had “a little bit” to do with his basketball trajectory.
“It was really special to be recognized by those schools and have them want me to go there,” Freedman said of the process leading up to his decision.
“I love the coaching staff and all the kids on the team,” he said of Santa Monica High School. “I’ve known them for a little while. I’ve been close to a couple of their players for a while. Their system is really good. It fits my style of play really well. And the school is also good.”
If all the hype seems a little much, consider the fact that earlier this year Freedman, a point guard was ranked the fifth best basketball player in the nation within his 2018 graduating class by Hoop Scoop, a recruiting website.
Consider that in his first game with the Santa Monica team — a summer league match against Sherman Oaks — he put up 31 points and missed only two shots, according to the Los Angeles Times. Freedman called it his favorite game.
Freedman started playing basketball when he was 7 years old.
“I wasn’t very good,” he said.
A year later he started training with a coach a couple times a week. Months later he was training every day.
“I’ve always been someone who is goal-oriented and I haven’t really strayed off the path,” he said of his early dedication. “I really like to do something and finish it out. Once I started basketball I pretty much knew I was going to do it forever.”
By 10 years old, strangers were coming up to Freedman after games, applauding his abilities.
“It was definitely weird,” he said. “I remember being shocked.”
Freedman has a mature demeanor for a high school freshman, perhaps due to his advanced age — he’ll be closing in on 20 by the time he graduates — and the fact that he’s been dealing with the media and impressed basketball fans since he was 10 but also likely because, by all accounts, he’s natural leader.That Hoop Scoop article — the one that crowned him the fifth best player of his class — calls him unselfish and likens him to a “coach on the floor.”
“I would rather create for my teammates than score 40 points,” Freedman said of his style. “I have more fun getting 20 assists. Coach lets us spread the floor and lets the guards attack the basket. There’s a lot of freedom, which is nice.”
When asked about his dream his answer is quick and matter-of-fact: “I wanna play in the NBA someday. That’s the goal.”
Freedman is 6-feet-tall, short by NBA standards, which is something that makes him anxious, but he thinks he has more height in him.
“I just went to the doctor a week and half ago to get a physical and they took an x-ray of my hand and my growth plates are still open,” he said. “I stretch a lot and I hang from bars.”
Does the obsession ever get old?
“Never,” he responded. “Sometimes I get tired physically and mentally but I never don’t love basketball.”