Athlete of the Week: Elliott Prasse-Freeman '03
Time and time again last year, it was Crimson guard Patrick Harvey who made the big play—a steal off an inbounds pass, a running jumper through the lane, a pair of timely free throws—to pull out an improbable win.
On Saturday at Lehigh, however, Harvard turned to a new Mr. Clutch.
After a late 10-3 run enabled Harvard to tie the game with 11 seconds to play, Lehigh junior Matt Logie committed a crucial turnover. That set the stage for Logie’s old Mercer Island High School teammate—Harvard guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman—to steal the show.
The junior point guard connected on a jumper with six seconds remaining to give Harvard a two-point lead and, eventually, its second win of this young season.
Not a bad result considering Prasse-Freeman didn’t even feel good about the shot when it left his hand.
“I honestly didn’t think the shot was going to go in,” he said. “I expected to get fouled when I just threw the ball up in the air, but it actually ended up going in. It was great.”
The basket gave Prasse-Freeman 14 points for the game in addition to seven assists. Twelve of his points came via the three-point shot, as Prasse-Freeman (8-of-14 on treys for the year) continued to display the hot hand from behind the arc.
That’s important, because when sharp-shooter Dan Clemente ’01 graduated last spring, the Crimson lost its No. 1 option at crunch time. For four years, Clemente made his living taking the big shot in the waning moments of games.
Even when the ball wasn’t in his hands, Clemente’s presence on the floor made life difficult for opposing teams. Part of Harvey’s success down the stretch last year was due to the fact that most teams were double-teaming Clemente. That left Harvey as a very effective second option.
But Harvey isn’t catching teams by surprise anymore, especially with Clemente gone. If Harvey was Harvard’s Plan B last year, he’s Plan A now—which leaves Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan looking for a new second option who can step up when it counts.
If Saturday is any indication, Prasse-Freeman may become that go-to guy.
The 6-3 guard has come a long way since his freshman year, when he was a self-described “pure passer.” Back then, Prasse-Freeman’s game consisted of mainly passing and modest point production. In his Harvard debut in an exhibition contest against St. Francis Xavier, he racked up 10 assists without attempting a single shot.
Nowadays, Prasse-Freeman is still one of the best there is at distributing the ball, but he has also developed a sweet scoring touch. Last season, he averaged 9.8 points per game and for parts of the year, he led the Ivy League in three-point shooting percentage.
Prasse-Freeman hasn’t missed a step in the early going this season. Through Harvard’s first three games, he is still posting solid assist numbers (4.7 apg), but even better, he is doing it while averaging more than 11 ppg.
The Crimson will take every point it can squeeze out of Prasse-Freeman this season. Still, he will be hard-pressed to make any of them count more than the two he netted with six ticks left at Lehigh. With the game on the line, Prasse-Freeman struck gold.
Coach Sullivan, say hello to Plan B.