Joel Freeland -- Did You Know?
By Kassandra Posted in: Blazers
A full six years after he was drafted by the Trail Blazers, it was Joel Freeland's turn to come to the states to put his talents up against the best of the NBA.
Like many fans, I wondered if we would ever see Joel in a Blazers uniform. That July day when it was announced that he had signed his NBA contract was filled with excitement, anticipation and wonder. We've been hearing his name for years and now, finally, we were going to see Joel on the Rose Garden court.
But ... did you know this?
Basketball is not Joel's first sport. In fact, if it weren't for some major adversity, he may not have begun playing basketball competitively. As a 14-year-old playing soccer in his native England, he broke his left lag -- badly -- and spent two weeks in the hospital. Not wanting to risk another injury, and being one of the taller kids around, he decided to pick up basketball.
"I didn't want to go through that again," Joel told the London publication The Independent
. "I decided to change sport. Being as tall as I was, basketball was an obvious choice. I fell in love with it from the get-go."
In October, Mike Barrett went into detail in his blog, A Break for the Better
Joel playing for his home country, Great Britain, in the 2012 Olympics.
Fast forward a scant four years, and Joel's name was being announced on draft day. Eventually, after six years of honing his basketball skills in Europe, he would actually don his Blazers jersey in the NBA.
Joel has appeared in 31 games with one start. He is averaging 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game. After hitting just one of his first 18 NBA shots, he has made 31 of his subsequent 61 attempts.
Now, you know.
Sources: The Daily Telegraph
(U.K.), The Independent
"-- Did You Know" will appear in this blog on a semi-regular basis throughout the sesason, centering on Blazers players and coaches. In Kassandra's Words, features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass