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Theo Freeman is looking to be a significant contributor for the Guilford boys’ basketball team in his junior year. Theo put in a lot of working during the offseason in an effort to raise his game. (Photo courtesy of Theo Freeman )
When Theo Freeman was a toddler, he used to run around his room and shoot at the miniature hoop on his closet door. The enjoyment of those moments ultimately led to a deeper passion of basketball for Theo, who has been playing the sport for the past 11 years.
Now a junior at Guilford High School, Theo is looking to make a big impact for the Grizzlies and potentially crack their starting rotation during the 2021 winter season.
“I have been playing organized basketball for about 11 years, but even younger, as a toddler, I used to love playing on the little hoop I had in my room and dribbling in the driveway,” says Theo. “I have continued because of how much I enjoy every aspect of it—playing, forming relationships with teammates and coaches, and competing against different towns.”
Guilford Head Coach Jeff DeMaio says that Theo made a strong impression during preseason tryouts this year. Coach DeMaio was pleased to see Theo show great improvement from the previous season.
“He will be fighting for a starting position,” DeMaio says of Theo. “We asked him to become a little more offensive-minded and, from what we have seen so far, he has. He’s a great kid and he’s very coachable and wants to get better.”
Theo can play all over the court for the Grizzlies, but is slated to mainly suit up at the forward position as a junior. Theo is excited for the season to get started, and he’s looking forward to working with his teammates.
“My favorite aspect of the sport is the importance of teamwork. With five people playing, everyone has to work well together and work hard, which is a great feeling when it happens,” says Theo. “In terms of a specific physical part of the game, I love setting up my teammates for shots, especially when they go in.”
Entering the 2021 campaign, Theo was eager to display the mental and physical strides that he had made since his sophomore campaign. Theo hit the tryouts hard and, once they were finished, he knew that all of his determination had paid off.
“My favorite moment as a player was probably the first day of tryouts this year, in part because I have improved significantly since last year, both physically and mentally,” Theo says. “Also, it was a great reminder of how much I missed the team and how much I love the game and love being around a hardworking and fun group of players and coaches.”
Theo practiced his shooting and dribbling skills at his house throughout the offseason in order to improve his skills. He also built up his physical stature by lifting weights.
“I focus on things that I have to improve on, which I usually determine from watching film of past games,” says Theo. “I also have attended two basketball summer camps, and, from that, I have a notebook full of information on how to be a better player and teammate, which I read through.”
Theo has high hopes for Guilford this winter. He expects the Grizzlies to play with confidence and give it their all on the court on a daily basis.
“I expect us to work extremely hard during practices. That will make us better and, ultimately, make the season more fun,” Theo says. “It is important that we don’t take any practice, scrimmage, or game for granted, because the pandemic could pause or end our season at any point. We owe it to the seniors and ourselves to give it our all every day.”
In addition to playing basketball, Theo plays the right back position for the Guilford boys’ soccer squad. Last fall, Theo and company finished the season with an overall record of 7-3-1 on their way to making the final of the SCC Division B Tournament.
“I’d say I’m equally passionate for both [sports] during their respective seasons,” says Theo. “I think I am better at basketball and put a little more focus on it during the offseason. But during the basketball season, I focus only on basketball, and the same goes for soccer.”
A high honors student at Guilford High School, Theo was happy that he got to play any soccer at all amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Theo felt proud to help Guilford have a solid season while dealing with all of the uncertainties.
“My favorite moment was being one of the final three teams whose season wasn’t cut short by COVID,” Theo says. “Then, advancing to the finals of our division was great.”