Fallyn Freije, a fifth-year senior forward on the MSU women’s basketball team did not take the typical path of a Division-1 one athlete. She transferred to the Bobcat program from her hometown school, the University of North Dakota, following her junior season. Almost any player that transfers at that point in their career makes the decision due to a lack of playing time or success. Instead, Freije had just finished her second consecutive season being named a member of the all-conference and all-conference academic teams. This season, she was named the Big Sky preseason MVP without playing a minute of the 2018-19 season due to transfer rules. Her success left those with an outside perspective puzzled over her decision to walk away from UND, but getting to chat with the Edmore, North Dakota native, it became obvious that Fallyn was inspired by her faith. Playing for a toxic coach at UND may have soured the first three years of her career, but Fallyn did not allow anyone to determine how her collegiate experience would finish. Fallyn has found a place where she can once again enjoy playing hoops. On top of that, her journey has helped elevate her understanding of what matters most to her.
In a prior interview you spoke about how the head coach was what led you to leave UND and at the end of your time there basketball was no longer fun. Has it become fun once again since landing in Bozeman?
Yeah, I think that transferring here has helped it become fun again. Just playing free again and not always thinking about everything else, which was quite mentally challenging at my old school.
What are your personal goals on the court going forward this season?
Really I just want the ball in my hands and to be able to make the right plays, whether that’s scoring, passing or whatever it is, as long as we’re winning. All the stats, really I could care less as long as we’re winning. As a team, we can work on reading each other a little better. I think we’ve taken huge strides and obviously we’re doing well as a team, but in my mind, with our basketball IQ, I think we still have room to grow and to really start clicking.
As a team, what are the main objectives right now?
Winning the [Big Sky] tournament is the number one goal. I wouldn’t care if I didn’t score another point the rest of the year if we won that. I’ve always dreamt of that, making the [NCAA] tournament and being underdogs from a small town. Our mindset is not to just make it and go, it’s to win the first round. I really think that our pre-conference schedule prepared us really well for that.
Having options to play for teams all across the country and at the highest levels, what led you to transfer to MSU?
Actually in high school, head coach Bin[ford] recruited me and I really loved it. I was torn on how big I wanted to go, whether it was power five or mid-major, even when I was transferring. But I had just come to a point in my career where I realized basketball success alone wasn’t going to make me happy, and chatting with some MSU players while I still was at UND let me know that the intense and quite negative environment I was enduring wasn’t normal. How Coach Bin did things, and how hard MSU had played, where maybe players one through five only averaged ten points instead of only having one standout scorer, that’s what made them so good and stand out to me. Every time UND played MSU, I wondered, “What if I was on that team?” and what that would be like. It was definitely always in my heart and mind.
Besides basketball, what is important to you?
I am deeply involved in my faith and in church, which I really enjoy. I also enjoy going to school and I plan on attending dental school eventually. Building relationships with my teammates and peers is also really awesome to do and to invest in people and leave a legacy. I really think there is just so much more importance in shaping culture than wins and losses and points scored.
What’s next after MSU?
I’ll be playing professionally overseas, probably in Europe because that season starts in August, while the Australian league is in February. I’ve always dreamed of playing overseas, even before division one basketball. I just always knew that I wanted to do that and get to travel. I plan on playing only one season, but everyone says it’s hard to stop because of all the travelling you get to do. But, I want to go to dental school and get going on my life after basketball at some point not too far in the future.
Make sure to catch Fallyn and the Bobcats when they host the Weber State Wildcats, Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7pm in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Admission is free to students with their CatCard.