PEORIA—It’s kind of hard to believe, but a few years ago Marcus Liberty’s super-athletic nephew, Javon Freeman, was basically playing in obscurity as a sophomore at Seton.
Liberty, a former King star, is always mentioned in any conversation about the best players in Chicago history.
“When I wouldn’t get noticed freshman and sophomore year I’d get upset and cry to my uncle,” Freeman said. “But he would tell me that my time was coming. He was right, now look where I’m at.”
Two years ago Seton closed and Freeman found himself a true free agent. He could freely transfer to any school. Freeman was spotted at several high-profile games, he seemed to be checking out every possible option.
“It was a difficult time, dealing with my school closing while at the same time having so many schools coming after me,” Freeman said. “My mom just told me to be patient and wait and find the right fit for me.”
At one point Freeman decided to attend DePaul Prep.
“My mind was set on DePaul Prep for a time, I thought was going to go for it with them,” Freeman said. “But I’m thrilled I wound up at Young. It was clearly the best choice for me.”
Freeman has been a star for the past two seasons in the Public League.
“When we first saw him it was the summer of his sophomore year,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “He was wiry, not much too him, but he was a good basketball player.
“When he got to Young and we had the opportunity to work with him we learned that he also had a really high basketball IQ. You can tell that he has a basketball pedigree. You can just see it in the way he plays and in his confidence and his demeanor.”
Freeman was a key member of Young’s squad that won the Class 4A state title last season and he has a chance to win a second title this weekend.
“We are the only team [in Class 4A] that has been here before, so that is definitely an advantage,” Freeman said at Young’s shoot around at Carver Arena on Thursday.
Freeman has signed with Valparaiso.
“A lot of people think I could have gone to a bigger school but my uncle said I should go there if it is the place that feels right, so that is what I did,” Freeman said.
“That’s a legitimate steal for Valparaiso,” Slaughter said.
The same could be said for Vermont and Conant big man Ryan Davis, who also made the first team.
Davis was the area’s best big man this season, averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds. Rounding out the first team is Sun-Times Player of the Year Talen Horton-Tucker, Zion Griffin of Hinsdale South and EJ Liddell of Belleville West.
Chicago Sun-Times All-State basketball team
Player, School, Position, Height, Year
Ryan Davis, Conant, F, 6-9, Sr.
Javon Freeman, Young, F, 6-4, Sr.
Zion Griffin, Hinsdale South, G, 6-5, Sr.
Talen Horton-Tucker, Simeon, G, 6-5, Sr.
EJ Liddell, Belleville West, F, 6-7, Jr.
Messiah Jones, Simeon, F, 6-5, Sr.
Kendle Moore, Danville, G, 6-1, Sr.
Francis Okoro, Normal West, C, 6-9, Jr.
Chris Payton, Bloomington, F, 6-6, Jr.
Morgan Taylor, Marist, G, 6-3, Sr.
Ayo Dosunmu, Morgan Park, G, 6-4, Sr.
Cam Burrell, Morgan Park, F, 6-6, Sr.
Anthony Fairlee, Springfield Southeast, F, 6-4, Jr.
Tim Finke, Champaign Central, G, 6-7, Sr.
Terrance Hargrove, East St. Louis, F, 6-7, Jr.
Armon Brummett, Decatur MacArthur, G, 6-4, Sr.
Perry Cowan, DePaul Prep, G, 6-4, Jr.
Cardell McGee, Springfield Lanphier, G, 6-3, Sr.
Kenny Strawbridge, Rockford Lutheran, G, 6-4, Sr.
Javon Williams, Centralia, G, 6-2, Sr.
Fred Cleveland, Leo, G, 5-8, Jr.
Raekwon Drake, Orr, F, 6-5, Sr.
Markese Jacobs, Uplift, G, 6-0, Jr.
Andrew Morrissey, Winnebago, C, 6-9, Sr.
Dannie Smith, Orr, F, 6-5, Sr.
Chase Adams, Orr, G, 5-8, Sr.
George Conditt, Corliss, F, 6-10, Sr.
Lamar Lillard, Momence, G, 6-4, Sr.
Jake Parr, Anna-Jonesboro, F, 6-2, Sr.
Ty Waller, Winnebago, F, 6-2, Sr.
Devon House, Sterling Newman Catholic, F, 6-7, So.
Owen Landwehr, Annawan, G, 6-3, Sr.
Damarius Taylor, Cairo, G, 6-0, Sr.
Braden Webb, Goreville, G, 5-11, Sr.
Jake Wolfe, Aurora Christian, G, 6-4, Sr.
Deion Jackson, Providence-St. Mel, G, 6-3, Jr.
Justin Myers, Colfax Ridgeview, G, 6-0, Sr.
Kyle Ottens, Milledgeville, G, 6-2, Sr.
Dylan Patrick, Newark, G, 6-1, Sr.
Trevor Voss, Payson Seymour, F, 6-5, Sr.