RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Charlotte native Allerik Freeman jumped onto the ACC scene in the 2017-2018 basketball season.
The grad-transfer from Baylor led the team with an average of 16.1 points per game and helped the Wolfpack earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
Since his college days, Freeman has played overseas. He most recently signed with the Shenzhen Aviators in January.
“When we got here, everything was closed. Everything was empty. There were no cars on the street. The restaurants that were open were empty,” said Freeman via zoom from his hotel in China.
In the United States, the suspension of the NBA was the tipping point of the effects the coronavirus pandemic had on sports. In China, COVID-19 had already halted CBA play.
The Association indefinitely suspended games on February 1, less than a month after Freeman got to China.
“It was crazy. For example, I would go into a restaurant, or a bank, or even come to my hotel to come in and leave. They take your temperature with a little thermometer gun they have,” he said.
Freeman was the only American import to stay and wait out the coronavirus suspension in China, in fear that the virus would spread to other parts of the world, which it has.
While China is not out of the woods yet, he says the conditions have improved dramatically.
“China seems and appears to be in a lot better circumstances and a lot better situation than the world right now because China was the first one to go through it so they kind of weathered the storm and got their feet under them. But we are not ignorant of how the coronavirus can affect someone’s health,” he added.
The Chinese Basketball Association is pushing to resume the season, with hopes to get games started back up this month, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“Initially we thought we were going to start April 15, and then they just announced that there’s been no official start date because the government hasn’t given the OK”
Freeman will continue his workouts and stay physically prepared for when he can suit up with the aviators again.
But in the meantime, he has a message for Kevin Keatts and the rest of his Wolfpack family.
“Oh man, I miss him so much. I text back and forth with coach Keatts and coach Johnson, those guys, some of the players every other week. Just try to touch base with them and see how the season is going and everything. Go Pack. I love it so much, I can’t wait to come back.”
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