The book on Freddie Gillespie when FC Bayern Munich signed him was that he was a smart and physically gifted big man who might need some time to figure things out at the highest level of European basketball. And to date, that has been the case; he has flashed moments of brilliance – particularly on defense and rebounding.
Bayern fans would be wise to show patience with Gillespie because, as his track record shows, he loves basketball and will not let anyone or anything stop him from becoming a more complete player.
As a child, Gillespie's first love was American football, which he played through 11th grade, though his mother had him sample many different after-school activities.
"I did like Spanish club, I did debate in high school, speech. A lot of things like that: track, basketball, rope course; I played football," he recalled. "She put me in tennis during the summer one time."
Gillespie took to basketball in eighth grade and planned to play as a high school freshman, but he broke his ankle during tryouts.
"I wasn't crazy in love with basketball at that point, so it was like, 'Oh, you know, bad luck. I just won't play that year,'" Gillespie recounted. "I wasn't going to play my 10th-grade year, but the coach came by and he said, 'I really want you to play. I think you'll be really good.' So I chose to play and I fell in love with it… It's about a decade later now and I still don't want to stop playing."