Many questioned the future of Mater Dei’s (Santa Ana, Calif.) hoops future after four-star guard P.J. Fuller and 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol both decided to take alternative routes for their senior seasons. Fuller, a seasoned shooting guard relocated back to Seattle to debut on Brandon Roy’s Garfield lineup, whereas Bol (son of late Manute Bol), landed on Findlay Prep in Nevada.
The Monarchs are currently 9-3 on the season and are led by a tightly knit core of four seniors who are determined to accomplish every goal they have set as a team.
Leading the pack is senior guard Spencer Freedman, who despite being such a force on the court, has plans that exceed simple basketball dreams. Freedman is signed to play at Harvard next year, which has kept him focused on and off the court.
“Making the decision was really a long term decision,” Freedman said. “I know going to Harvard gives me the opportunity to do things in life that I really want to accomplish, as well as giving me opportunities on the basketball court that are interesting as well.”
Freedman received college offers from various Ivy League programs, including Yale and Princeton, as well as PAC-12 schools, but ultimately decided on Harvard as his next chapter.
“I really have a great relationship with coach Tommy Amaker and I love the kids on the team,” Freedman said.
A true point guard, Freedman has elevated floor vision to make opportunities for his team, but also has a sweet stroke from the three-point-line.
The 4.2 GPA student-athlete continues to show maturity beyond his years with insight on his next steps.
“The academic aspect is something that is so important to me because I know that one day the ball will stop bouncing,” Freedman said. “Whether I play 20 years in the NBA or zero years in the NBA, I’ll have to do something after basketball, and Harvard sets me up with opportunities after basketball that are second to none.”
Coach Gary McKnight has led the Monarchs for 36 years. He has coached Freedman for the last three and expressed that it has been a pure delight.
“He’s a great leader and a great example of a hard worker,” McKnight said. “That’s our future President of the United States right there.”
Mater Dei has one goal to complete come the end of the season: “Finishing the season, we want to win a state championship,” Freedman said.
The Monarchs fell short at the Les Schwab Invitational in December, falling 67-55 to the No. 2 Oak Hill.
This early season run for Mater Dei has been set up for them to gain the most experience that they can to get them prepared for the last game of the year.
“These are all learning experiences and we really want to take advantage of these opportunities and learn from it get better, improve, and hopefully that will help us in March,” Freedman said.