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Freddy Hassan lifts Kaneland past Sycamore

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of Kaneland Freddy Hasan He started playing basketball late but is trying to make up for lost time.

The eldest of two sons of Nigerian immigrants who came to the United States in 2006, Hassan took an interest in the sport in seventh grade but did not become serious about it until he started playing again in first grade.

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

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

He likes it now. And the 1.80m tall young forward looks at home on the pitch too.

Hassan posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night and played a key role in an 82-56 victory at Sycamore that secured its second straight Interstate Eight Conference championship.

senior forward Parker Violet Knights (23-5, 8-2), who finished one game ahead of LaSalle-Peru (22-8, 7-3) in the rankings, continued their leadership with 22 points and 8 rebounds.

senior guard Troyer CarlsonLast week, the program’s all-time leading scorer added 19 points. Sophomore forward Evan Frieders and senior guard brad frank There were eight in each.

Contributing with two blocked shots and two assists, Hasan can now smile when he looks back at his first experiences in basketball.

“I barely came off the bench as a freshman, but I once put up crazy stats like 20 rebounds,” he said. “But when I was 6-4, I was playing against younger kids.”

Kaneland’s Freddy Hassan (15) throws a pick to Sycamore’s Carter York (23) while Kaneland’s Troyer Carlson (10) moves to the lane during an Interstate Eight Conference game on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, at Sycamore. (H. Rick Bamman / Beacon News)

Hasan and his brother JeffreyThe 6- to 8-year-old freshman, who trained at the varsity and played on the sophomore team, spent most of his time skateboarding at the elementary school in their Montgomery neighborhood.

“I think it really helps us with stamina if we keep falling down and getting back up again,” Freddy said. “I learned a few tricks but I don’t even know if I can do them now.

“I haven’t been on a skateboard in a while.”

Carlson remembers Hasan’s early trials and tribulations.

“He came to college after making a big splash in the summer,” Carlson said.

Hassan started college in his sophomore year. He realized he had arrived on Christmas break when he was named MVP of the Plano Christmas Classic, which the Knights won with four wins.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it,” Hasan said. “At first I thought it was a dream. They announced it recently. Everyone started jumping up and down around me. Until then I thought they were underestimating me.”

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

Hassan had an impressive performance in the tournament, averaging 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in four games.

“He’s one of our best players and he’s unstoppable at times,” Carlson said. “When he leaves, it takes the pressure off me. Freddy and Parker are unstoppable down there.

“Freddy can block shots. He is strong in the post and can go out and shoot. He’s getting better and better and has only been playing for three years. “It will be exciting what the future holds.”

It’s been quite a journey since that day in the halls early in his freshman year as Kaneland’s assistant coach. Other Carriers He approached him and asked if he played basketball.

“He was the first one to talk to me,” Hasan said. “He always brags about it.”

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

“He was telling me the other day that he knew I was behind,” Freddy said. “He apologized for not involving me before, but he helped me a lot with everything.

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

“This is always for me and my brother. He never thinks about himself. That’s why I always push so hard. “One day I hope to go to college for free, so she doesn’t have to worry about that.”

Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe He said it was part of the plan.

“We are preparing for this,” Colombe said. “We will continue to work on his ball handling and shooting this summer. We want him to play a little more on the bench next season.”

Hassan said he started to love the game.

“I defend, I score goals, I help my team win,” he said. “I love that if you work hard you get better. Whatever you give to basketball, it will give you back. If you work, you’ll get better.”

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