On Monday, Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers announced the hiring of Kevin Freeman to his coaching staff. Freeman joins the Nittany Lions after spending the past seven years as a member of the Connecticut Huskies program, where he served as the director of basketball administration.
His hiring comes a little less than a month after now former Penn State assistant Dwayne Anderson left State College to take over as the director of basketball operations at Villanova, where he played collegiately, including as a member of the Wildcats 2009 Final Four team.
Coincidentally, Freeman himself was a standout college player in his own right, featuring as a key contributor during Connecticut’s 1999 National Championship season. After wrapping up his career in Storrs, he went on to play professional in a career than spanned 11 years and eight different countries.
“Penn State men’s basketball took another step in getting better today,” said Chambers via a press release. “We welcome Kevin and are excited about the impact he will have on our program. He is a proven winner as a collegiate player, professional player and as part of the staff at UConn. Kevin has built great relationships throughout the East Coast and nationally and he understands the vision we have for Penn State basketball and the goals we have for the future.”
Freeman rounds out Pat Chambers’ staff, which includes longtime associate head coach Keith Urgo and former Duquesne head coach Jim Ferry, the latter of which joined the Nittany Lions program last offseason.
Originally hired by legendary UCONN head coach Jim Calhoun in 2011, Freeman’s opportunity with the Lions represents his first in the assistant coach ranks. And while settling in at State College would typically profile as a relatively low key place to get your coaching feet wet, replacing Anderson will require filling some mighty big shoes.
Known throughout Penn State as one of the basketball programs key recruiters, Anderson was instrumental in landing the 2015 commitment of guard Josh Reaves and the 2016 commitment of future NBA guard Tony Carr.
As far as building relationships with Penn State’s current core group of Nittany Lions goes, Freeman at least seemingly has the approval of returning junior Lamar Stevens.
And seeing as one would expect Freeman to be heavily involved in mentoring Penn State’s stable of big men, having the seal of approval from arguably the current rosters best player is a solid way to begin his Nittany Lion coaching career.