With four of its five players in Gig Harbor’s starting lineup standing over six feet tall, the Tides basketball team certainly doesn’t lack height. Its tallest player?
That would be 6-foot-7 center Patrick Fredrickson, a University of Minnesota baseball signee.
The senior is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game for the Tides, who are 12-4 overall and are sitting in third in the Class 3A South Sound Conference with a 6-4 league record.
“The season is going well,” Fredrickson said. “We started off pretty strong, had a little bump in the road and then got it back together and started working harder in practice. We’re re-focused now.”
Believe it or not, it’s Fredrickson’s first time playing on the school basketball team in his four years of high school. While he was focusing on his baseball career — a strategy which, by all means, appeared to have paid dividends — he decided to come out for the team in his senior season and has been one of Gig Harbor’s best and steadiest players this season.
He was pretty raw when he came in this season, but really talented. He’s a main contributor now and is looking to get the ball.
Billy Landram, Gig Harbor coach
“He was pretty raw when he came in this season, but really talented,” said Gig Harbor coach Billy Landram. “He’s a main contributor now and is looking to get the ball.”
While Fredrickson had played with friends occasionally, he needed some fine-tuning once he joined the team officially.
“Just understanding where to be, some of the basic stuff,” Landram said. “He has a good feel for the game but he doesn’t have as much experience as other kids with spacing, where to be when the ball is in certain places.”
Landram said he has seen marked improvement in Fredrickson’s game since the start of the season, including at the free throw line, which was a struggle for Fredrickson at first, admittedly.
“I’m working on it,” Fredrickson said with a laugh. “At our (season-opening) jamboree, it was just bad. I wasn’t even hitting the rim.”
He’s come a long ways since then.
“He works hard on it every day,” Landram said. “A lot of it is just getting back into the swing of things and getting his routine going. He’s hit a few big (free throws) down the stretch for us to help us win some games.”
Fredrickson has been a steady scoring presence and a force on the glass, helping establish a frontcourt that few teams in the league are able to match for size.
I’ve gotten a lot of offensive rebounds and put-back points. It gives you an advantage over the smaller teams. You can go up and get the ball easier.
Patrick Fredrickson, Gig Harbor senior center
“(Having that height) has helped a lot offensively,” Fredrickson said. “I’ve gotten a lot of offensive rebounds and put-back points. It gives you an advantage over the smaller teams. You can go up and get the ball easier.”
If Gig Harbor makes a run in the postseason, Fredrickson’s play will be a crucial part of its success.
“He’ll be huge,” Landram said. “He’d be a huge part of it, from guarding to rebounding and his ability to score. This has been a fun year, because we don’t really have any one guy that just dominates the ball or scores 25 a game like we had in the past. We have a lot of kids working together, which is fun.”