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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Pair of former Knights ink professional basketball contracts

Kent Hanson ’20.
Photo courtesy of Alex Cardenas ’20.

Former Carleton College men’s basketball teammates Kent Hanson ‘20 and Freddie Gillespie inked to play professional basketball this winter. Hanson signed with Aktobe of the KNL professional league, while Gillespie was recently drafted No. 2 overall by the Memphis Hustle, the NBA G League affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies.  

“We are proud of both Kent and Freddie as they embark upon their professional basketball careers,” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. “Kent has worked very hard for this opportunity. He is unwavering in his commitment to maximize his talent and reach his potential in all aspects of his life, and we are thrilled for him to begin his professional career overseas.

“Freddie’s story has been well-documented, and we are delighted about the success that he has continued to experience following his time at Carleton. His unrelenting work ethic and dedication have allowed him to exceed expectations at every level he has played at, and he has an opportunity to do so again at the professional level.”

During their lone season on the court together, Hanson and Gillespie help lead the Knights to one of the most successful single seasons in recent school history as Carleton ran off 14-consecutive conference victories and were ranked as high as No. 11 nationally.

An Honorable Mention All-American selection and Jostens Trophy finalist following his senior season, Hanson averaged career highs of 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds during the 2019-20 season, while leading the MIAC in three-point makes (64) and three-point percentage (.448). Hanson was 1 of only 6 NCAA players (from all three divisions) to amass 1,600 career points while averaging at least 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game over his career during the 2019-20 season. He was also selected last spring as Carleton’s recipient of the Warren L. Beson Memorial award, given annually to a senior male athlete for athletic and academic excellence who has won one or more awards (letters) in any sport and has a high scholastic average. 

Hanson, who graduated with a degree in economics last spring, signed with Aktobe of the Kazakhstani National League. The KNL is comprised of six teams and features a number of former standouts from NCAA Division I, II, and III schools. The league’s top team, Astana, has two former Big-10 players, Devyn Marble (Iowa) and Michael Thompson (Northwestern) as well as former Memphis standout Adonis Thomas. Hanson will make his KNL debut on Feb. 1.

Gillespie, spent the first two years of his collegiate career playing for the Knights, before transferring to Division I power Baylor University of the Big 12 conference. Gillespie burst onto the scene as a sophomore as he was one of only three underclassmen named to either the All-MIAC First, Second, or Third Team after averaging 10.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while leading the MIAC and the West Region with 2.56 blocks per game, a figure that ranked 15th in NCAA Division III. His 69 blocked shots during the 2016-17 campaign rank second in school history.

At Baylor, Gillespie earned second team All-Big 12 honors, was selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive team, and was chosen as the Big 12 Most Improved Player during the 2019-20 campaign. He also became the Bears first men’s basketball player to earn Big 12 Conference Male Academic Athlete of the Year honors. Gillespie spent the 2020-21 NBA pre-season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks after signing a free-agent contract with the organization prior to the start of training camp.

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