Created on 25-07-2022 at 15:59 PM
The Bayern Basketball team is looking forward to an exciting reinforcement to its frontcourt: The five-time German champions have signed center Freddie Gillespie for two years until 2024. The 25-year-old American played last season first in the NBA for the Orlando Magic and later in the NBA G League for the Memphis Hustle. It is the first overseas commitment.or the athletic 6ft7 powerhouse.
"Freddie is a young, very promising player who will provide us with a tremendous presence with his physical skills in the zone and defending the paint."
"I'm sure that Europe and especially Munich is exactly the right place for me at this moment to develop my game and improve. What I will bring is first and foremost my mentality of wanting to get the best out of every situation; rebounding, defense, defending the ring, setting screens, going to the offensive rebound and using my physicality," explained Gillespie, who is currently in Houston training twice a day. "I'm looking forward to the adventure in Munich, and I've also heard that this city is a lot of fun."
29 NBA appearances for Toronto and Orlando
He learned about the local conditions through his former university teammate Makai Mason (2019-2020 in Berlin), Gillespie said, in addition to having already watched EuroLeague games: "It's a very different, physical, defensive-oriented style of basketball that involves a lot of strategy and will suit me."
Freddie Gillespie can look back on a total of 29 appearances in the NBA, 20 of them in his first professional season in 2020/2021 for the Toronto Raptors. He averaged around 18 minutes on the court with a 50 percent shooting percentage (4.6 ppg) and just under five rebounds per game.
Following his college days at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, he was initially part of the Dallas Mavericks' practice squad in 2020, then was selected as the No. 2 pick by the Memphis Grizzlies' farm team at the start of the 2021 NBA G League draft.
Defense, screens und physicality
In the NBA's Development League, Gillespie averaged 10.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 15 games, earning his first short contract with the Raptors, who rewarded his performance with a contract through the end of the season (5.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg). This was followed by a return to the G League in Memphis for twelve games (11.4 ppg, 12.2 rpg) and another chance in the NBA - this time in Orlando and without a long-term contract.
That there is still plenty of development potential in this young man with his impressive 7ft5 arm span is made clear by the fact that the former football player has only been seriously involved in basketball ten years. At first, he hardly played at East Ridge High School, partly because of injuries, and colleges naturally didn't have him on their radar, not even those in the second division.
From the NCAA's third level, Carleton College finally picked up Gillespie in 2015, where his goal was really just to earn a degree in political science - three years later, the late-bloomer played a part in jumping the Baylor Bears all the way to the 2019 NCAA Tournament, March Madness.
Gillespie worked his way up from "East Ridge role player to Baylor beast," The Daily Orange wrote at the time. In his final varsity year, the defensive-minded big man tallied nearly 10 points and nine rebounds as a starter in all 30 games and was named the Big 12 Conference's Most Improved Player 2020.
"Freddie is a young, very promising player who will provide us with a tremendous presence with his physical skills in the zone and defending the hoop," Bayern Sports Director Daniele Baiesi said of the addition. And further: "He has no international experience yet and will first have to adapt to a wide variety of demands on and off the court. But Freddie has enormous development potential, very clear goals and ambitions. We are therefore very happy that he has decided to put his talents at the service of our club."
FREDDIE GILLESPIE (*14. June 1997, Saint Paul, Minnesota/USA)
Center/Power Forward – 6ft9 – 246 lb
Until 2015: East Ridge High School (Woodbury, Minnesota)
2015 –2017: Carleton College, Northfield (NCAA III)
2018 – 2020: Baylor University, Waco (NCAA I)
2021: Toronto Raptors (NBA), Memphis Hustle (NBA G League)
2021 – 2022: Orlando Magic (NBA), Memphis Hustle
„Most Improved Player 2020“ Big-12-Conference (NCAA)
Second Team All Big-12 2020
Big 12 All-Defense Team 2020
Second Team All Minnesota IAC (NCAA III)
(c) Raptors HQ, Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet