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Fremd's Riley Glassmann (20) helped the Vikings earn the Wheeling Hardwood Classic championship. | Sun-Times Media Library
Fremd shot out of the gates and has rarely looked back to an unbeaten start. Still, questions naturally abound about just how good the Vikings were. Even the players were seeking a certain validation.
"Even though we were undefeated, we still felt as though we had not really put a solid, full four quarters of basketball together in one game and we were looking to do that," star senior guard Riley Glassmann said.
Faced with their most daunting challenge of the year, Glassmann and the Vikings more than measured up.
Playing St. Viator in the championship of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Saturday, Glassmann scored 28 points and added seven rebounds with two assists as the Vikings handled the Lions 77-67.
The Cornell-bound Glassmann was named tournament most valuable player. He scored at least 20 points three times and led the team in scoring in each of its four games while shooting nearly 70 percent from the field. For his accomplishments, Glassmann is the Chicago Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
The victory over St. Viator was not only gratifying because of the magnitude of the game, playing against highly-regarded Ore Arogundade and Roosevelt Smart, Glassmann said it compensated for some disappointing finishes in the past.
"We were really pumped about playing St. Viator, they're a great team, with some great players, but the big thing was, this was our third year in the tournament and we weren't very happy with how we played here in the past," he said.
For the year, Glassmann is averaging 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for the No. 12 Vikings (13-0).
Glassmann is a 6-6 guard whose overall game has blossomed. When he entered the program four years ago, he was wide-eyed and raw. "My freshman year, I was mostly a facilitator. I set screens, that sort of thing," he said.
His offensive skills have developed significantly in his three years as a starter. "He's evolved into an all-around player," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "He's become an overall very skilled player. He can handle the ball, he can score, he plays defense and he's a very intelligent player."
With his length and size, Glassmann is a very difficult defensive matchup who is often too tall for other guards and too quick for forwards. "With my size, I definitely like to post people up and be able to go down low or even step outside," he said.
One of his best attributes is his ability to self-correct his own mistakes. The week before the Wheeling tournament in a conference rivalry with Schaumburg, he started slowly, missing his first couple of shots and by his own admission rushing his game.
He adapted to the pace and style of play and allowed his natural ability to take over.
"This whole year he has showed a lot of poise," Widlowski said. "Against St. Viator, I thought he showed great amount of leadership and put the team on his shoulders and did a great job."
His long arms and excellent footwork make him a defensive force. "Defense is where it starts for us," Glasmann said. "That's where we get our energy." Against St. Viator, Glassmann keyed a defensive effort that limited the high-scoring Lions to just four points in the third quarter as the team patiently built its lead.
He selected Cornell over a host of other Ivy League suitors and said he felt liberated by having his college recruiting out of the way.
"It lifted a lot of weight off of me, and now we can just focus on the rest of the season,'' Glasmann said.