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Hurley bags Freelove, Witherspoon lands on his feet

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

University at Buffalo athletic director Danny White’s hiring of former Duke basketball star Bobby Hurley as the Bulls’ new coach has already paid dividends.

After luring transfer Jamir Hanner from Marshall University as a potential 2014-15 replacement for Javon McCrea—then signing freshman guards Deyshonee Much and Shannon Evans—Hurley has added a dynamic guard in Joshua Freelove, a transfer from Alabama State (10-22, 8-10 in SWAC in 2012) who recently visited Auburn as well.

According to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com and SNY.tv, the Bulls can file a waiver for Freelove to play immediately due to Alabama State’s well-documented Academic Progress Rate (APR) problem.

A potential answer to the Bulls’ gaping hole at two-guard, the 6’2, 180 pound scorer shot a respectable 46 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range and averaged 13.6 points per game for the Hornets. While he doesn’t get to the line much—39 attempts in 723 minutes last season—Freelove is a pure scorer who should complement the returning Jarod Oldham nicely.

“Coach [Bobby] Hurley being the head coach was the biggest reason I decided to go with Buffalo because of his knowledge of the game and being a guard coach,” Freelove told SNY.tv. “He will have my best interest and can develop my game for the next level. I will bring my ability to score and will be aggressive on defense.”

Freelove’s top performance last season was a 29-point, six three-pointer showing in an 81-77 loss to Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Freelove is not a stat-sheet stuffer by any means, but former Toledo head coach Gene Cross’ evaluation in 2009 speaks volumes:

“Josh has superior athleticism, terrific quickness, an uncanny scoring ability and he’s still learning the game. He could develop into a very good combo guard.”

Coincidentally, Freelove has played against Buffalo before as a member of the Toledo Rockets in Feb. 2010, scoring four points in a 65-59 loss to the Rodney Pierce, Calvin Betts-led Bulls. Freelove then spent time at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Ill., before returning to the Division I ranks for his junior season.

In other Bulls-related news, former head coach Reggie Witherspoon has agreed to become the new Erie Community College athletic director, The Buffalo News’ Bob DiCesare reported Friday.

The University at Buffalo icon returns to the Kats—the two-year school with campuses in Amherst, downtown Buffalo and Orchard Park—after playing basketball for ECC and then coaching the Kats’ basketball team to a record of 43-15 over two seasons before joining the Bulls in 1999.

TAGGED: bobby hurley, erie community college, jarod oldham, joshua freelove, mac basketball, reggie witherspoon, ub basketball, ub bulls, university at buffalo

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