SE: Meet the Newcomers | Ron Freeman & Isaiah Maurice
This year’s Wildcat men’s basketball team is filled with new faces of players from around the nation. Coming to K-State from coast to coast, these 10 newcomers each bring unique playing styles and personalities to this year’s Wildcat squad. Tune in every Tuesday as K-State Sports Extra, partnered with K-StateHD.TV, shares their stories.
A Change in Scenery for Ron Freeman
Life in the Little Apple is a bit different than what Ron Freeman is used to, but he’s loved every minute of it.
Coming to K-State from Los Angeles, the 6-foot-5 freshman guard has enjoyed the slower pace and friendly faces in the Midwest.
“It’s a big difference from Los Angeles,” said Freeman. “It’s huge there. There are a lot of big buildings, people, everything is huge, but here, I must say, it’s all about family. There is a lot of support here. People show you love whether you’re out in the city or just on campus. I’ve had classmates come up and ask who I am, where I’m from and what I’m about. It’s really a blessing to be here.”
After graduating from Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, California, Freeman spent one postgraduate year playing basketball at Future College Prep in Harbor City, California. Averaging 16.6 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, including 38 percent from the three-point range, Freeman helped Future College Prep to an overall 40-14 record.
“My playing style is very up tempo,” said Freeman. “I like to push the transition, I like to shoot off the dribble with a high arch. Coach Weber has said that I have one of the best jump shots on the team, and he says that I get my shot off no problem, but it’s just about me not rushing my shot. I play with high confidence and don’t doubt myself.”
Freeman is one of 10 new faces on this year’s Wildcat men’s basketball team. He has teammates from all over the nation – from Florida to Maryland to North Carolina to Texas to Tennessee – and has enjoyed getting to know his new Wildcat family.
“What I like the most about this group is that we’re all positive and we all work really hard,” said Freeman. “You never catch us slacking or being lazy. Every day we’re just excited to get better as a team and we are all young guys coming in, all from different areas but we all click together as one whole. I’m just excited to see how we all grow together.”
On Friday evening, Freeman had his first glimpse of action in Bramlage Coliseum. K-State downed Washburn, 80-42, in its first of two exhibition games, and Freeman recorded two points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals in his six minutes of action.
“I’ve grown a lot,” said Freeman about his time at K-State so far. “I’ve learned so much here. I’ve learned how to get my dribbling up, how to make good decisions. I’ve also grown in having good character off the court and just being appreciative for everything that we have.”
Maurice Making Strides with K-State
Though it’s a long way from home in Durham, North Carolina, it didn’t take freshman Isaiah Maurice long to know K-State was the right school for him.
The 6-foot-10 forward chose K-State over numerous offers, including Auburn, Cincinnati, VCU and Wake Forest. He loved the school and the basketball program, but mostly, he loved the Wildcat coaches.
“It was mainly because of this coaching staff. Coach (Chester) Frazier, Coach (Alvin) Brooks, Coach (Bruce) Weber and Coach (Chris) Lowery, those guys are the main reasons that I came here,” said Maurice. “They told me how I fit with their program; they were really honest with me. I was closer with those coaches than any other coaching staff that I had been recruited by.”
And in his first few months at K-State, he’s come a long way because of the Wildcat coaching staff.
“They push you. They’re push you hard,” he continued. “I’ve seen a great deal of improvement in my game and in my strength in so little time. I’m surprised in how far I have come.”
Maurice comes to K-State after playing two seasons at Bull City Prep High School in Durham where he averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds as a senior (2014-15) and 19 points and nine rebounds as a junior (2013-14). After his stellar senior campaign, he was listed among the Top 25 North Carolina prep basketball seniors by the Charlotte Observer.
“I try to be as versatile as I can; rebound the ball, block shots, run the floor, shoot the three, I try to do everything to be the best player I can be,” explained Maurice when asked to describe his playing style. “Right now, everything is quicker. Everyone is athletic, so you have to figure out how to separate yourself. I’m still in the midst of doing that right now, but I feel as if I have the tools to do it, I just have to assert everything the coaches ask of me.”
Though Maurice is considered a redshirt option this season, he will bring additional height and length to the court in the years to come.
Like his young teammates, Maurice is working hard both on and off the court and growing every day. He can’t wait to see what the future holds for this year’s Wildcat men’s basketball team.
“Everyone is so young, so we can grow together,” said Maurice on what he enjoys the most about this year’s roster. “That is something that I really love about this team. Everyone is really close, everyone hangs out together and everyone really loves each other.”
Up next for the Wildcats is its second and final exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 6 when the Wildcats play host to Fort Hays State at 7 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $10, while fans can take advantage of the new Bramlage Bundle for just $20, which includes a general admission/bench ticket, $10 concessions voucher and a souvenir from the K-State Super Store. The contest will be televised on FOX Sports Kansas City (state of Kansas, Kansas City area), K-StateHD.TV and ESPN3.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh-Stewart or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.