A year ago, Tea Area's Ethan Freidel was named Sanford Pentagon/KELOLAND Media Group Player of the Year. This spring, on the heels of a runner-up finish at the state "A" tournament, Titans' junior Noah Freidel is a nominee for the award.
After a solid sophomore season, Tea Area's Noah Freidel emerged as one of the state's top players this winter, averaging 27 points and six rebounds per game.
"Bigger the game, bigger he plays. I mean, he's a kid that wants the ball in his hands and we're comfortable playing that way," Tea Area head coach Chris Fechner said.
"When everyone thinks I have to go out there and score like 30 points, I'd rather go out there and have 20, ten, five, and three. Try and be all-around and help the team every way I can," Tea Area junior Noah Freidel said.
Freidel took on more of a leadership role this season, and says he's matured, physically and mentally.
"I was kind of a hot-head. Now I'm more relaxed on the court, under control, more mature," Freidel said.
"That's probably been the biggest growth. As a player, he's going to continue to get better I believe because he's a gym rat. He's playing all the time, but that growth as a leader is something that's going to carry us going into next year and for him afterwards," Fechner said.
Freidel's season was nearly cut short twice. He suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain to his left knee during the regular season and aggravated the injury in the region playoffs. Noah played through the pain, and averaged more than 25 points per game at the state tournament.
"I thought I came back strong. I wasn't all the way there physically, but I made it up with fundamentals, like not trying to do the flashy thing, just playing safer and a little slower and a little more under control," Freidel said.
"It took some adjustments in there, and certainly for him he had to trust that thing and get some confidence back in it, but it quickly came back I thought," Fechner said.
After falling short this season, Freidel already has his eye on next year's prize.
"We've all be talking that next year we're going undefeated, like no one is beating us next year, and stuff like that. We just want to get back to the state tournament and win another state title. That would be a good way to end our senior year," Freidel said.
Freidel is the first of five male nominees for Player of the Year. We'll unveil the remaining finalists throughout the week on KELOLAND News at six and ten. The winner will be announced at Saturday's All-Star banquet at the Sanford Pentagon, where North Carolina head coach Roy Williams will be the keynote speaker.
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