Freddie Gillespie came to Baylor as a walk-on who had spent two years at NCAA Division III Carleton College in his home state of Minnesota.
He left Baylor with a shot to make the NBA.
Gillespie has agreed to a free agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks after he wasn’t picked in the two-round NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
“I’m extremely excited for Freddie,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew. “He came from Division III to a walk-on to all-conference. About a third of the guys who play in the NBA are undrafted, so this is a great opportunity for him.”
The 6-9, 245-pound Gillespie was a key member of Baylor’s squad that finished 26-4 last season and was ranked No. 1 for a school-record five straight weeks. The Bears finished second in the Big 12 behind Kansas and appeared headed for a No. 1 regional seed before the NCAA tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
Bringing high energy to the court, Gillespie averaged 9.6 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He shot 55 percent from the field and 68.4 percent from the free throw line.
Baylor’s defense was one of the best in the country and Gillespie’s play in the paint was a big reason why the Bears constantly shut down opposing teams.
“It’s amazing how hard he worked and the belief he had in himself,” Drew said. “He worked on things that a lot of players don’t want to work on like fundamentals, jumping rope and putting in extra time in the weight room. He spent all his energy trying to get better and that translated into winning.”