For the week of February 20-26, Mid-Major Madness has selected Milwaukee guard/forward BJ Freeman as the Mid-Major Player of the Week for two performances that inducted himself into the program’s record books and helped the Panthers finish 2nd in the Horizon League.
(Read more from our own Liam Hanley on the magic in Milwaukee this season here.)
After having spent the 2021-22 campaign at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, Freeman exploded onto the scene for Milwaukee as a sophomore averaging 17 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.0 APG in his first year at the Division I level.
With the Panthers heading into the week tied for second in the conference, Freeman opened by putting together a clutch triple-double on Thursday with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists for a tightly contested, 96-94, win over Purdue Fort Wayne.
The triple-double from Freeman marked the first of his career, the first from a Horizon League player since 2020-21, the fifth in Milwaukee program history, and just the 26th in the nation this season. Not too shabby.
As Cleveland State earned a road win over Green Bay on Thursday, the Horizon League would head into the final weekend of the season with a locked tie for second and the Panthers set to host the Vikings.
With the Conference Championship’s second seed on the line, Freeman managed a DI career-high 31 points with an additional eight rebounds and three assists to lift Milwaukee past Cleveland State, 81-72, and into sole possession of second.
For his historic week, Freeman garnered the Horizon League’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week — his third of the season — and later was honored as an All-League Second Team selection for leading the Panthers in scoring during 2022-23.
Having obtained that second seed for the 2023 Championship, Milwaukee will have a real opportunity to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 when they last won the conference championship, but they have to beat out Youngstown State to do so.
Brandin Podziemski (Santa Clara) - Averaging 24.5 PPG, 14 RPG, and 4.5 APG, Podziemski managed two double-doubles — his fourth consecutive — for wins over Pepperdine and San Diego to help the Broncos secure 3rd Place in the WCC.
Jordan Brown (Louisiana) - With two double-doubles while averaging 26 and 11.5 rebounds per game, Brown and the Ragin’ Cajuns picked up victories against Arkansas State and South Alabama which pushed Bob Marlin’s squad into second in the Sun Belt on a tie breaker.
Kevin Caldwell Jr. (Lindenwood) - Led the Lions to a 105-102, double-OT win over SEMO with 18 points and five steals before dropping a DI career-high 26 points to lead a 97-96, OT victory over Little Rock in which he hit the game-winning buzzer beater to book Lindenwood the final seed for the OVC Championship in its first season of DI basketball.