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Reporter’s notebook: Some extra details about Harry Froling

Harry+Froling+%28left%29+celebrates+a+3-point+shot+from+the+sidelines+while+playing+with+Australia.
Harry Froling (left) celebrates a 3-point shot from the sidelines while playing with Australia.

Harry Froling (left) celebrates a 3-point shot from the sidelines while playing with Australia.

Harry Froling (left) celebrates a 3-point shot from the sidelines while playing with Australia.

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A few days ago, my story on Marquette center Harry Froling’s journey from Australia to America came out on the Wire. In the process of reporting this story, I learned a lot of interesting details about Harry and his family — some of which had to be edited out of the final version for space or continuity. Here are a few of those tidbits.

Footy dreams

Despite heavy basketball influence from his family and a professional team in his hometown, Harry still strayed from basketball toward other sports. Jenny didn’t want Harry to play rugby because of the high injury rate, so Harry turned to Australian Rules Football, or “footy,” for his second sport.

“I played it seriously until about 12 or 13 years old,” Harry said. “I do love AFL and, I mean, I want to play it one day after I’m retired from basketball. That’s what my dad used to do to keep fit.”

Harry showed off his kicking skills while on a visit to University of Illinois by standing in the front left corner of the Memorial Stadium end zone and curving the ball through the uprights.

America calling

After the U17 junior nationals, dozens of colleges called, emailed and sent letters inquiring about Harry. The Frolings responded with silence, not knowing that the colleges expected anything more.

“We’re sort of a bit ignorant of the U.S. system,” Shane said. “We would’ve had 20 colleges contact us and we’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s good, and there’s something in the mail and oh, there’s an email’ and we wouldn’t respond. So a lot of the colleges are like, ‘Oh well, they don’t want to go here.’ … I guess a lot of them want you to have that interaction.”

By the time the Frolings started responding to colleges, many of the schools that showed early interest had moved on, including Marquette. Harry rediscovered the Golden Eagles partly due to having a better understanding of the recruiting process after transferring from SMU.

Point forward

 Like a lot of big men in today’s game, Harry has flouted the conventional image of an imposing, back-to-the-basket anchor. Most people don’t realize how far that goes for Harry, who mused about filling in for point guard Markus Howard when he needs a breather.

“I’ve played all sorts of positions since I was a kid. I played point guard and I still think I can. I’m going to be more of a power forward or a center here, but they’re talking about maybe needing a bigger point guard every now and then to give Markus a break. I think I can probably fill that spot.”

Harry has been listed as a forward or center at every team he has been on since attending the Centre of Excellence. While efforts to locate tape of him playing point guard were unsuccessful, those who have coached Froling say he has the skillset for the job.

“Very good decision maker and creative offensive player,” Adam Caporn, who coached Harry at the CoE, said. “I always thought when the ball was in his hands, good things happen. He could pass, he could shoot, he made good decisions. He grew up in basketball and had a really good feel for the game.”

Sold through strength

The Golden Eagles convinced Harry to come by focusing on one of the biggest areas where SMU fell short — the weight room. As the main coaching staff and strength coach Todd Smith walked through exactly how Marquette reshaped players’ bodies to fit the team’s style, Harry knew this is what he needed.

“I think Todd was probably one of the biggest things for me for sure. He’s a no-B.S. guy, a very straightforward guy and that would be good for me,” Harry said.

Harry experienced that attitude firsthand when he tried to celebrate a major breakthrough in the weight room.

“Pretty cool day for me today, down to 248 lbs. (114kg) from 271 lbs. Last time I was this weight I was 15/16 years old,” Harry tweeted.

“Quit looking at the scale and get back to work,” Smith tweeted back.

Frolings vs. Larry Brown

 Harry’s initial recruitment by SMU was not the first time Larry Brown and the Froling family had crossed paths. At the 1987 FIBA Junior World Championships in Italy, Brown coached the American team to an 84-80 victory over the Australian side, which had Harry’s father Shane in the rotation. The FIBA archives record Shane as having scored two points that game.

That seems unfair

Most basketball families have competitive one-on-one hoops games in the driveway. The Frolings were no exception, regularly holding boys vs. girls matchups featuring Harry and his brother Sam against their twin sisters, Alicia and Keely. There were, however, a few matchups that ended quickly and without much fanfare. Those were the times when Shane took the court.

“Dad played us a couple of times, but Dad would be chicken and say, ‘first to one point,’” Harry’s brother Sam said. “He’d start with the ball and just score once and claim he’s won it over us every time.”

The Townsville connection

Next year, Marquette basketball might have two players from the same Queensland city, both of which have former Australian basketball pros in the family.

April 29, Harry’s longtime friend and former childhood teammate Jacob Rose announced that he was accepting an academic scholarship to Marquette. Harry says Rose will try to walk on to Marquette’s basketball team. Rose played both basketball and American football at Pasadena High School in Pasadena, California.

Jacob’s father is Rob Rose, who once played for the Los Angeles Clippers on a 10-day contract. Rob went on to enjoy a 16-year career in the NBL, Australia’s top-tier basketball league.

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