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Farmington's Freetly to play basketball at St. Mary's

Freetly led the Tigers in points per game, 12.2, as well as rebounds. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Freetly picked St. Mary's over the likes of Augsburg, Hamline and Concordia College. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Freetly committed to play Division III basketball this past December at St. Mary's University in Winona. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Farmington Tigers senior forward Caden Freetly helped lead his team to a 14-12 record this year during the regular season. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

Despite having played his last basketball game in a Farmington Tigers uniform, there is still plenty of competitive basketball left in senior Caden Freetly's future. The Tigers' six-foot-four forward committed early in December to attending and playing basketball at Division III St. Mary's University in Winona, Minn., next year.

Freetly helped lead Farmington to a 14-12 regular season record this past season before falling in the first round of section playoffs to Lakeville South. He led the Tigers in points per game with 12.2, and according to head coach Tharen Johnson, also was tops in rebounding and other categories as well.

He said that he really began to realize how much he enjoyed basketball as he entered high school.

"I kind of realized freshman year because the type of body I had," Freetly said. "I was tall, long and skinny. I always had fun playing other sports, but once basketball came around it was different."

He also said that he picked the sport up late, and because of that really threw himself into it right from the get-go.

"I didn't start basketball until sixth grade, which was kind of late compared to other kids," Freetly said." So my parents had already started getting me to go to workouts and clinics, but when I realized it was something I wanted to do at the next level I did it more, enjoyed working out and started trying out for AAU programs, and all the new challenges were fun to me."

Freetly played for the MN Select 15U team after his freshman year, a program that is run out of Blaine, holds tryouts at Bloomington Kennedy High School and is part of the Minnesota Basketball Association. For the summers after his sophomore and junior years, he played for the Wear Out the Net (WOTN) program in Lakeville.

Even toward the end of his junior year, Freetly said he was unsure if he would be able to play college ball.

"Throughout junior year I wasn't sure if I would play in college because I had no schools contacting me and didn't know where to look," he said. "But at the end of the season, coach Johnson (Farmington head coach Tharen Johnson) told me Saint Mary's emailed him about me.

He told me right before our first section game and that was kind of a sigh of relief, and as the AAU season went on more coaches approached me or my coaches and parents."

Freetly's "final four" schools that he was most interested in and took visits too were St. Mary's, Augsburg, Hamline and Concordia College in Moorhead. Comparing St. Mary's to the others, Freetly said that with the relationships he had made with the coaches and players, he knew St. Mary's was the place for him. What really set St. Mary's apart from the rest of the schools were those relationships and the feeling of campus and the city of Winona.

Freetly said that St. Mary's envisions him playing the 2 or 3 spots (shooting guard/small forward) and how big of role he has will depend on how much he's willing to work.

"I look forward to taking the steps into adulthood and growing up," Freetly said about moving on to college this summer. "For basketball I'm excited about playing in one of the best Division III conferences in the nation and learning from great coaches and players."

The St. Mary's Cardinals compete in the Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Their competition is St. John's, St. Olaf, Bethel, Augsburg, Carleton, St. Thomas, Gustavus, Hamline, Concordia and Macalester. The Cardinals finished the 2017-2018 season with an overall record of 1-24, their lone win coming against Martin Luther College.

Last, but certainly not least, Freetly credits his parents with helping him achieve his goals.

"My parents, for sure, because they provided me with all the opportunities I have been given, whether it be driving me to practices, paying for lessons to help my game, or even their flat out support and belief in me has helped me the most," he said.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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