Joel Freeland of Team Great Britain and last year of Kalise Gran Canaria has signed with Unicaja, the team announced today. The 2008-09 season saw Freeland average 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game coming off the bench for Gran Canaria; Freeland was actually selected by the Portland Trail Blazers at the age of 19 in the 2006 NBA Draft but was reportedly “encouraged … to return to European play to further improve his game.” That improvement is still progressing, but Freeland is currently mostly upside.
(Euroleague.net) — Unicaja announced the signing of center Joel Freeland to a multi-year deal on Monday. Freeland (208 cm, 22 years old) arrives from Kalise Gran Canaria, where he averaged 12.5 points and 6 rebounds in four Eurocup games last season. He was a main reason that Gran Canaria advanced to the regular season in the competition after posting 21.5 points on 75% shooting in the Eurocup second qualifying round games against Benetton Fribourg. In his three seasons with Gran Canaria, Freeland helped the team reach the Spanish League playoffs in 2007 and 2009. Freeland is also a regular member of the British national team and is set to take part in the upcoming EuroBasket 2009 in Poland. He averaged 10 points and 5.7 rebounds in six EuroBasket qualifying games to help Great Britain to qualify for the event for the first time since 1981. Gran Canaria had the option to match Unicaja’s offer and keep the player, but opted not to do so, allowing Unicaja to sign one of the most promising big men in European basketball.