BILLINGS — Get Harald Frey talking about his basketball-playing days at Montana State and you'll hear a lot of appreciation and even a little contrition, the kind reserved for only the most intense competitors.
"It's something that I've definitely missed, the atmosphere out in Bozeman and the people," Frey told MTN Sports from his hometown of Oslo, Norway, during a recent phone conversation. "I have a degree from a great school and I have so many great relationships there."
"We didn't get the results we wanted and I'm always going to be a little mad about that, the fact that we didn't win more," Frey said. "But I know in my heart that I put 100% in everything I did towards winning with the right intentions. So I do feel at peace with that."
Competition still fuels Frey, who recently wrapped up his fourth season of professional basketball overseas and his second year with BG Gottingen in the German Bundesliga of FIBA Europe. Frey, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 13.9 points and 4.4 assists for Gottingen, which saw its season come to an end with a loss to Bayern Munich in a quarterfinal playoff series.
After leaving Montana State following 2019-20 season, Frey played his first two years of professional basketball in the LEB Oro league in Spain. With Oviedo CB, Frey averaged nearly 10 more points per game in his second season than he did in his first, which helped afford him the opportunity in the German Bundesliga, one of the top leagues in Europe.
For Frey, the past four years have been a continuation of growth in basketball after he showed such poise and flair with the Bobcats.
"It's taken some adjusting to the European game again, there's a little bit of different emphasis on different things," said Frey, who has played in several international events for his home country of Norway. "This is a league I've been picturing myself in for a long time, so when the opportunity came I felt like It was something I owed to myself and I had to take it."
Frey said he has crossed paths with several former Big Sky Conference rivals during his time in Europe, including Jonah Radabaugh and Kai Edwards from Northern Colorado and Brooks DeBisschop from Northern Arizona.
He also played against ex-Montana Grizzly Will Cherry, and has teamed with the likes of Cam Oluyitan from Southern Utah as well as Geno Crandall, who played at North Dakota before finishing his career with an Elite 8 run at Gonzaga. He even was a roommate of former Griz player and Billings Skyview High School alum Kendal Manuel.
During Frey's time at Montana State under coaches Brian Fish and Danny Sprinkle, the Bobcats finished above .500 once and won one Big Sky tournament game, but there was no shortage of thrills in a fast-paced system. An international import and a backcourt mate of all-time MSU great Tyler Hall for three seasons, Frey finished his career ranked No. 1 in school history in games played and started, No. 2 in 3-pointers made and free throws made, and No. 3 all-time in scoring.
He was a two-time all-conference selection and also the league's freshman of the year in 2016-17. Frey finished his career as just the second player in Big Sky history to achieve more than 1,800 points and 500 assists. One of his greatest highlights was the banked-in buzzer-beater he made to beat UNC Greensboro on the road his senior year.
"I remember that one pretty vividly," Frey said.
Of his game now, Frey says he has "definitely gotten a little stronger. I've consistently just been trying to work on my body. I fee like I am able to match a level of physicality better. And I think I've become a better defender because there's more of an emphasis on it over here."
Frey said he still keeps in contact with his former coaches with the Bobcats, especially Chris Haslam, who recruited Frey to MSU. Haslam has since moved on to Utah State as an assistant under Sprinkle, who guided the Bobcats to two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances after a 26-year drought before being hired away at the end of last season.
Matt Logie has since been hired to replace Sprinkle as head coach.
"That was so much fun to watch. I was so happy for the guys," Frey said of MSU's NCAA tourney appearances. "I was fortunate enough to be part of the hiring committee — (MSU AD) Leon Costello let me sit in on that. I remember coach Sprinkle's interviews and how passionately he spoke about the program. Everything he said came true."
Frey's is currently a free agent, which leaves him with an empty canvas with which to pursue his professional goals.
His biggest aspiration is to play in the EuroLeague, the top pro conglomerate in Europe.
"That's kind of the pinnacle for a European player to reach," Frey said. "I would love to keep using basketball to travel. I've seen some great places and met some great people so far. I'd love to keep building my network and see the world through basketball. I feel like it's a terrific way to live and a terrific way to learn about different people and see different places."
"I think I'm going to know pretty soon what's going to happen," he said. "It's kind of that time of year. I'm speaking with my agent and speaking to my family, and there are some offers. But as of now I'm not sure what I'm going to do next year. But I'm excited for the next adventure, for sure."