After the early departure of Thomas Bryant, it became clear sophomore forward De’Ron Davis would replace him in the front court.
However, it wasn’t obvious who would be Davis’ backup. After Sunday’s near double-double against the University of Indianapolis, senior forward Freddie McSwain Jr. answered both of those questions.
McSwain’s energy and tenacity helped IU win its final exhibition game 74-53 over the Greyhounds. Coming off the bench for the Hoosiers, he had 12 points and nine rebounds, providing IU with an interior presence on both offense and defense.
“Freddie was who he is every day in practice, relentless on the boards,” senior forward Collin Hartman said. “And just brings a lot of energy and toughness to the game and has boosted us as a team in getting second chances and being able to guard the five and just being a motor that never stops.”
Last season, McSwain averaged only eight minutes and just under three points per game after transferring from Neosho Community College in Chanute, Kansas.
He said he’s become more confident this season because his teammates are confident in him.
Not only did McSwain do well against the Greyhounds around the rim, he showed off the midrange shot he said he had been working on this offseason. He said he has also been working on being patient in the post.
“I think he’s a guy that’s learning a new role, sort of what we’re asking him to do compared to what he was asked to do before,” IU Coach Archie Miller said. “I think he understands his role better. You could see in this game he was pretty active on both ends of the floor.”
Against the Greyhounds, McSwain used his size and stamina to get rebounds. IU out-rebounded the University of Indianapolis by 30.
“Obviously, I think De’Ron and Freddie did a tremendous job impacting the game on the glass, couple of tip-ins early and they got the ball deep a few times,” Miller said. “Freddie really energized with the ability to offensive rebound. So, the physicality in and around the basket is what we’re hunting for.”
McSwain did most of his work on the offensive glass, where he had six rebounds. This was crucial for IU’s offense with the Hoosiers struggling to shoot. Miller said those rebounds were valuable.
“He’s a physical guy who can help us hopefully contain on the glass and play hard on defense, and he’ll take his spots on offense," Miller said. "I was pleased with Freddie tonight. I think he had a big momentum twist when he was in the second half, I think that helped us.”
McSwain led the team in rebounding in the Hoosiers’ two exhibition games. In the victory over Marian, he played 15 minutes and had four points and four rebounds.
“If he can stick with that all year, which I’m confident he can, it will really help us for sure this year,” Hartman said.
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