Men’s basketball: Javon Freeman-Liberty to mull his future before deciding next step


Maddy Maes/The DePaulia

DePaul senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty looks to attack the basket.

NEW YORK — DePaul senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty had a career season for his hometown school. 

He led the Big East in scoring at 21.7 points per game, averaged 7.3 rebounds and was recently named to All-Big East second team to validate his best collegiate season. 

Now, as the Blue Demons’ season ends following a 92-73 loss to St. John’s in the first-round of the Big East Tournament, Freeman-Liberty says he will consider all of his options before making a decision on his basketball future. 

“I’m going to weigh my options,” Freeman-Liberty said after the game. “I have a lot of options, but I’m not just going to throw out anything.”

The Chicago native had a breakout second season in Lincoln Park after transferring from Valparaiso in 2020. He increased his points, rebounds, assists and steals per game, while his 3-point percentage went up from 29.3 last year to 38 this year. 

With Freeman-Liberty improving his level of play, that has also coincided with DePaul’s record improvement under first-year head coach Tony Stubblefield. The Blue Demons finished the year 15-16 overall and 6-13 in the Big East, which was good enough for 10th in the conference. 

Freeman-Liberty had a stretch earlier this season where he missed seven straight games due to a groin injury. DePaul went 2-5 in that seven-game stretch. 

“It has been ups and downs this season,” Freeman-Liberty said. “We hit adversity pretty hard with the injuries; I missed a lot of games. But sometimes you have to fight through stuff and I understand that and I took on the challenge.” 

The Blue Demons began the season going 9-1 in non-conference play, mostly against weaker opposition. They then had trouble carrying over that form into the Big East, but ended up finishing the regular season winning three of their last four games. 

Freeman-Liberty scored 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting against St. John’s Wednesday night. But DePaul struggled all night long to keep up with the Red Storm’s high-octane offense. 

It was a frustrating end to the season, and possibly the end of Freeman-Liberty’s college career, as DePaul looked to carry over its momentum into postseason play, but was met with a more urgent St. John’s team.

Now, the Blue Demons will head into a crucial spring where they will look to bolster a roster that faced all sorts of injuries and Covid-19 issues this season. 

Tyon Grant-Foster has been out since the opening game of the season due to a medical emergency. Ahamad Bynum has not been eligible for one game. Javan Johnson wasn’t eligible until late December and has been out with a hand injury since the end of January. 

David Jones, the team’s second leading scorer, missed a game due to health and safety protocols and two to an ankle injury. 

There are plenty of questions that will need to be answered regarding the roster heading into the 2022-23 season,  but the biggest one will be if Freeman-Liberty decides to return or turn professional. 

“I really want Javon to explore his options,” Stubblefield said. “I do think in my heart that Javon is an NBA player. Obviously, I’m not the one doing the picking, but I want him to explore those options, test the waters and see where he’s at. … And, obviously, if he decides to come back to DePaul for another year, the door is always open.”