Before the 2013-2014 season, Eastside boys varsity basketball coach Greg Freeman let anyone within earshot know that his senior guard was coming for them.
Treyvon Francis had arrived, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it.
So far this season, Francis has made his coach look like a fortune teller. The savvy scoring guard has lit up opponents while helping the Eagles to a 7-2 overall record, with an unblemished 2-0 mark in Region 8-AAAA.
Francis has hit his target more often than not this season, scoring 15 points in three quarters of play against Monroe Area in the Eagles’ region home opener, while pouring in 20 against rival Newton and 27 on the road against North Oconee.
"I said at the beginning of the year that I believe Treyvon is the best guard in the state, and up to this point, he hasn’t shown me anything that would not make that true," Freeman said. "At times, he has gotten overexcited and picked up some fouls, but if you watch how he can explode and watch how he plays, he is just really
taking advantage of the opportunities teams are giving him.
"He can see the floor extremely well," he said. "He can score and he can find people when he penetrates. He is really playing within his abilities right now and it's making our team better."
Freeman said that Francis’ role change from a facilitator last year, to lead guard this season, was a transition that took more than just desire – it took hard work and effort.
"He wasn’t much of a scorer last year," Freeman said. "We prodded him to score, but we leaned on a lot of other guys to carry the scoring load last year. But, we knew that for Treyvon to make that step to the next level, he had to be able to consistently score. Now, he’s not only consistently scoring, but he’s scoring when he wants to. He’s not a guy who can be stopped when he gets his mind focused."
Francis made that leap this summer, spending countless hours in the gym fine-tuning his game.
"My team, my coach and I stayed in the gym all summer," Francis said. "Every day it was work, sweat and tears trying to get better. We worked on my offensive game. My biggest weakness last season was shooting, so this year, we’ve made it a strength of my game."
Francis said he’s excelling now because of the faith he has in himself, and the confidence his teammates have shown in his ability.
"The hard work in the offseason gave me the confidence in my shooting ability this year and has allowed me to feel more comfortable taking shots during games," Francis said. "Coach has implemented sets that allow me to get the ball in scoring positions, and I try to make good decisions.
"Coach said I have been too generous in the past, but now defenders have to think if I’m going to try to score or am I going to pass," he said. "It adds an extra element to my game."
Freeman has continued to boast of Francis’ abilities to anyone who will listen, but now, people are beginning to take notice.
"He’s the best unknown-known player," Freeman said. "People say he’s not quick enough – then you watch him play. People say he can’t shoot – then you see him score 20-plus points in two quarters. I think he can step up and take us to places we have never been.
"I don’t see anyone stopping him when Treyvon wants to score," he said. "He can get to the bucket, he can hit the mid-range shot, he can shoot the 3-ball and he can finish."
For Francis, the game is just coming more naturally, as he blends his new style of play with his old.
"I just take what the defense gives me and try to make the best decision for my team," Francis said. "If I see a guy open, in a position where I know they can knock down a shot, I’m not going to hesitate to get them the ball and let them put it up. This is a team game, and I have a responsibility to get my teammates involved, whether it’s with a score or with a pass."
As for where Freeman thinks Francis can lead the Eagles this season, he
believes the sky is the limit.
"I want to see him in Macon," Freeman said. "We set lofty goals and we believe that we can be there when it matters. We don’t care what people outside of Eastside think, because we know how hard we work every single day. You see it defensively. You see it when we’re running. It’s just a matter of carrying over what we do in practice and Treyvon and the rest of the guys putting it into action on the court."
Francis just wants a little bling at the end of the year, and he’ll do everything he can to thwart those who stand in his way.
"We all want the jewelry," he said. "Every guy on this team has the same goal…get the jewelry."