Daniel Freitag, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Bloomington (MN) Jefferson, is the top athletes and two-sports talents Class of 2024.
Freitag shined at the Wisconsin team camp in late June earning him a scholarship offer from the Badgers. Minnesota followed by offering the Jaguar standout in July. Freitag attended the Gopher football game versus Bowling Green Saturday.
Freitag averaged 10.2 points per game last season as the Jaguars finished 11-9, losing to Shakopee 48-40 in the Section 2AAAA semifinals. He scored in double figures in 11 of 18 contests, including nine of his final ten games. Freitag had a season-best 21 points versus Chaska.
GopherHole recently caught up with Freitag to learn more about his recruitment and sophomore season.
GopherHole: You guys had kind of a surprising season last year, doing better than a lot of people expected. How pleased were you with last year?
Daniel Freitag: I would say I was very pleased. I know that I expected it out of our team, but I know a lot of people didn’t. I knew what we could do and to be honest, I think we underachieved. I didn’t think we went as far as we could have. We lost to a solid team, but I think we definitely could have gotten farther than we did, but it was good to turn some heads.
GopherHole: You lost a few seniors, but you have a lot of players coming back. What are the expectations for Jefferson this upcoming season?
Daniel Freitag: We lost a couple of solid players, but we had a couple of injured players that I think, when they come back, will make a big impact and I definitely think that we can do way more than we did last year and I think our squad is just as tough, if not better. I’m thinking a little state-run.
GopherHole: You had a good summer with Howard Pulley. How pleased were you with how well you played together?
Daniel Freitag: I think that was a great year for us. I think we played to our strengths, the best I’ve ever seen us do and I think we also turned heads there because we went out to the EYBL and you could kind of feel the looks and I didn’t think we were very respected going in, but I think we left pretty respected.
GopherHole: Do you sometimes think people see you are from Minnesota and they think “Oh, we can beat these guys”?
Daniel Freitag: For sure, definitely.
GopherHole: Is that something that you take pride in “that you might underrate us now, but you won’t after we beat you?”
Daniel Freitag: Yeah, no doubt. I think a lot of people overlook Minnesota, especially for hoops.
GopherHole: What is the latest on your recruitment right now? You have offers from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Any other schools?
Daniel Freitag: No offers yet, but some interest and some football interest, also.
GopherHole: What other schools are you hearing from besides Minnesota and Wisconsin?
Daniel Freitag: I’m hearing from Portland, Utah, St. Thomas, Sioux Falls and Princeton.
GopherHole: Your Howard Pulley teammate, Jack Robison, picked up a Wisconsin offer after a strong showing at their team camp and you picked up an offer shortly after that. What was that experience like?
Daniel Freitag: It was a great experience. I really enjoyed the camp and the atmosphere. It was very shocking to get the offer because I just had no idea it was coming, but I love Wisconsin and how at home they made me feel and so picking up that offer was great.
GopherHole: Does that make you feel good because you have two Big Ten offers. Most kids start with a low major or mid-major and then work their way up. Is it cool that you got two offers from two very high-quality Big Ten schools?
Daniel Freitag: Very big schools. I was very shocked and yes, I’m very happy that my first offers came from the two. I was definitely pretty shocked by how big the schools were.
GopherHole: What about the Gopher offer? When did you get that and what was the feeling when you got that offer from the hometown school?
Daniel Freitag: I got a call from Ben Johnson while I was out in North Carolina in the EYBL. It was very pleasing, of course. The hometown. I was very excited and the call to my mom was pretty cool. My brother thought it was pretty cool.
GopherHole: How about football? You are a two-sport athlete. How much do you think that helps you with basketball and vice versa? Do you think that helps in terms of some of the athletic skills translating from football to basketball and visa versa?
Daniel Freitag: I definitely think that a lot of the athleticism and staying in the gym year-round because of football and workout room and everything that comes with football really helps. I definitely see big leaps in my athleticism and my strength every year after football season.
GopherHole: Do you think that helps you not get burned out if you just played basketball 12 months out of the year or football 12 months of the year?
Daniel Freitag: The thought has run by my mind a few times, but not just for basketball. I’ve thought about just playing football, but I just couldn’t give one up, so we’ll see what happens later.
GopherHole: Do you have a favorite or does it just depend on the season?
Daniel Freitag: Just the season, whichever season it is, is kind of the favorite at the moment.
GopherHole: So football is top right now?
Daniel Freitag: At the moment, yes.
GopherHole: You are so young and have still have a few years before you have to decide on a school, but what are going to be the main factors that are going to make you pick School A over School B or C?
Daniel Freitag: Definitely, just the “at home” feeling and how much of a priority I feel like I am to the squad.
GopherHole: What would it mean to maybe have a chance to play for the home state school?
Daniel Freitag: It would mean
a lot and seeing what Ben Johnson pulled off with the three recruits just committing. I’m hoping maybe he can do it with my class and that would be awesome.
GopherHole: Does that make you look at Minnesota a little bit different because they previously didn’t get the top Minnesota kids and that is something that Coach Johnson has made a priority?
Daniel Freitag: I was very impressed by who they pulled in this year. A lot more respect to Minnesota. They definitely get some points for that.
GopherHole: What about football? Are you hearing from a lot of schools for football yet?
Daniel Freitag: I wouldn’t say a lot of schools, but I have definitely been talking to a few schools and the Gophers were actually supposed to come out, the assistant basketball coach (Thorson) was supposed to come out and watch a practice, but I just recently broke my collarbone, so I guess that is going to have to be pushed off. I’m looking forward to next year’s football.
GopherHole: So, you are done with football for this year?
Daniel Freitag: Yes.
GopherHole: How did you suffer the injury?
Daniel Freitag: Yes. I had a little fade route, caught it and landed on my shoulder. It should be on Kare 11 at 6 o’clock on Monday (It ended up winning Play of the Week). You ought to turn in.