free hit counter code Freddy Hassan lifts Kaneland past Sycamore – Freeht.buzz

Freddy Hassan lifts Kaneland past Sycamore

Kaneland’s Freddy Hassan got a late start in basketball, but he’s is making up for lost time.

The eldest of two sons of Nigerian immigrants who came to the United States in 2006, Hassan had a taste of the sport in seventh grade but didn’t get serious until revisiting it as a freshman.

“My parents really didn’t know anything about sports,” Hassan said. “I was pretty tall, 6-1 or 6-2 in seventh grade, but spent most of the season on the B team and in eighth grade.

“COVID happened and we really didn’t have a season. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. I didn’t even start for the B team my freshman year.”

He likes it now. And the 6-foot-6 junior forward looks at home on the court, too.

Hassan had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds Friday night, playing a key role in an 82-56 victory at Sycamore that locked up a second straight Interstate Eight Conference title.

Senior forward Parker Violett led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds for the Knights (23-5, 8-2), who finished one game ahead of LaSalle-Peru (22-8, 7-3) in the standings.

Senior guard Troyer Carlson, who last week became the program’s all-time leading scorer, added 19 points. Sophomore forward Evan Frieders and senior guard Brad Franck each had eight.

Hassan, who also contributed two blocked shots and two assists, can smile now as he looks back at his early experiences in basketball.

“I was barely off the bench freshman year but I did put up some crazy stats like 20 rebounds once,” he said. “But I was 6-4 playing against little kids.”

Kaneland's Freddy Hassan (15) blocks Sycamore's Carter York (23) as Kaneland's Troyer Carlson (10) drives to the lane during an Interstate Eight Conference game on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 in Sycamore.H. Rick Bamman / For the Beacon News H. Rick Bamman / For the Beacon News
Kaneland’s Freddy Hassan (15) delivers a pick on Sycamore’s Carter York (23) as Kaneland’s Troyer Carlson (10) drives to the lane during an Interstate Eight Conference game in Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon News)

Hassan and his brother Jeffrey, a 6-8 freshman who practices with the varsity and plays on the sophomore team, spent much of their time in grade school skateboarding in their Montgomery neighborhood.

“I think it really helped us with toughness, just falling all the time and getting back up,” Freddy said. “I learned a few tricks, but I don’t even know if could still do them now.

“I haven’t skateboarded in a while.”

Carlson remembers Hassan’s early trials and tribulations.

“He came up to varsity after taking a huge jump in the summer,” Carlson said.

Hassan started on varsity as a sophomore. He served notice he had arrived over Christmas break when he was named MVP of the Plano Christmas Classic, which the Knights took with four wins.

“Honestly, I couldn’t believe it,” Hassan said. “I thought it was a dream at first. They announced it last. Everyone surrounded me, jumping up and down. Until then, I was thinking they snubbed me.”

Kaneland fans Erin and Reagan Shore root for Kaneland's Freddy Hassan during an Interstate Eight Conference game against Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 in Sycamore.H. Rick Bamman / For the Beacon News
Kaneland fans Erin and Reagan Shore root for Kaneland’s Freddy Hassan against Sycamore during an Interstate Eight Conference game in Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon News)

Hassan had an impressive run in the tournament, averaging 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots in four games.

“He’s one of our best players, and sometimes, he’s just unstoppable,” Carlson said. “He takes pressure off me when he gets going. Freddy and Parker down low are pretty unstoppable.

“Freddy can block shots. He’s strong in the post, and he can pull out and hit a jumper. He just keeps getting better, and he’s only played three years. It’s will be exciting what does in the future.”

Quite a journey from that day in the hallways early in his freshman year when Kaneland assistant coach Andre Carriere approached him and asked if he played basketball.

“He was the first one who talked to me,” Hassan said. “He always brags about that.”

Hassan’s parents are divorced. He and his brother live with his mother, Hilda.

“The other day, she was telling me she knew I was behind,” Freddy said. “She apologized for not getting me into it earlier, but she’s been helping me a lot with everything.

Kaneland's Freddy Hassan (15) points out coverage during an Interstate Eight Conference game against Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 in Sycamore.H. Rick Bamman / For the Beacon News
Kaneland’s Freddy Hassan (15) points out coverage against Sycamore during an Interstate Eight Conference game in Sycamore on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon News)

“It’s always for me and my brother. She never thinks about herself. That’s why I’m always pushing so hard. I’m hoping to go to college for free some day so she doesn’t have to worry about that.”

Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said it’s part of the plan.

“We’re gearing for that,” Colombe said. “This offseason, we’ll keep working on his ball handling and shooting. We want him to play on the perimeter a little bit more next season.”

Hassan said he has come to love the game.

“Playing defense, scoring, helping my team win,” he said. “I just love how if you work hard, you’ll get better. What you give to basketball, it will give back to you. If you work, you’ll get better.”

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