USA Today has a preview
of the 2012 London Olympics basketball competition and names Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland as the "player you need to know" from Great Britain. Included are some thoughts from long-time coach and ESPN
commentator Fran Fraschilla
Players you need to know: F Joel Freeland, 25, is 6-11, operates well in pick-and-roll situations, has a decent mid-range game, runs the floor well and is a capable shot-blocker. Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006, he will finally join the team after recently signing a three-year deal. Freeland spent the last three seasons in Spain's top pro league and averaged 12.9 points and 7.5 rebounds for Unicaja Malaga last season. Freeland averaged 11.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in the 2011 European Championship.
Fraschilla: "If there's one guy to keep an eye on, it's Joel Freeland, who just signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. They drafted in the first round a few years ago. He's been a rising star in Spain and is very close to making the move to the NBA — a 6-10 power forward, very athletic. He's a British-born kid who has spent his basketball formative years in Spain, and he's getting a chance to play in his country before we see him in the NBA, maybe even next season."
There appears to be some confusion in the quotes about whether Freeland is coming over for the 2012-13 season, perhaps caused by some updated editing of older quotes, but you get the picture.
The Blazers officially announced the signing of Freeland to a 3-year contract back in July
. Blazers head of NBA scouting Mike Born discussed Freeland here
A Blazers-centric Olympics basketball television viewing guide from BlazersMakr
can be found here
Also, here's a massive spreadsheet
tracking all televised Olympics coverage via Lisa Schmeiser
(on Twitter here
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter