Matt Frierson Zane Najdawi

Zane Najdawi (left) sets a screen for fellow Citadel Bulldog Matt Frierson (right). Provided/Citadel Athletics 

Former Citadel basketball coach Chuck Driesell gets credit for recruiting all-Southern Conference pick Zane Najdawi to the military school.

But perhaps Amy Frierson deserves some recruiting love, too.

Zane and Matt Frierson, Amy's son, made their official recruiting visits to The Citadel on the same day some five years ago.

"I always say, Matt's mom basically offered me a scholarship," Najdawi says. "She told me, 'You should come here, you should come here with Matt.'"

Thus began a friendship that's only grown stronger through four years at The Citadel, forged by knob year, the daily struggles of life in the Corps of Cadets, and the highs and (all too frequent) lows of being a Bulldogs basketball player.

Through it all, Matt and Zane — who will be honored before Saturday's Senior Day game against Samford, along with teammates Lew Stallworth and Tyler Burgess — have emerged as record-setting players and inseparable buddies.

As everyone at The Citadel knows, if you spot the 6-foot-7 Najdawi around campus, the 6-1 Frierson can't be far off. They room together and share the same major (sports management) and many of the same classes.

"I've never seen two guys tighter than those two," said Citadel coach Duggar Baucom. "They are both extremely quiet, but they communicate in their own way. And if you drew up what you would want an ideal cadet-athlete to be, it would be a combination of those two guys."

With Stallworth a graduate-student transfer and Burgess a former walk-on who graduated in three years, Najdawi and Frierson are the only members left from their recruiting class.

"Over the years, especially through knob year, you become close through all the hardship you go through here," Najdawi said. "And through the years, people leave, and we are the last two from our class.

"People always make comments about how we are twins, we're attached at the hip. We have every class together, we did internships together, we eat together every day. Everyone says we're inseparable."

Said Matt: "We got a lot of comments, and it gets kind of old. On the other hand, we are around each other all the time."

They are together in The Citadel's record book, as well.

Frierson, averaging 12.6 points per game this season, set the school record for 3-pointers in a season last year with 114. This season, he set the school record for career 3-pointers with 311 and counting.

Matt Frierson (copy)

Citadel senior Matt Frierson is the Bulldogs' career leader in 3-pointers. Provided/The Citadel 

"Matt is what I call a game-changing shooter, and there aren't many of those," Baucom said. "He's going to change the defense. They are going to know where he is, whether they are face-guarding him or whatever, and he will have a target on his back."

Najdawi, averaging 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds this season, is one of the most productive players in school and Southern Conference history. He's the only player in Citadel history to rack up at least 1,500 points, 700 rebounds and 150 blocked shots in a career, and one of just six in SoCon history.

With (1,557) career points, Najdawi trails only Cameron Wells (2,049) and Regan Truesdale (1,661) on the Bulldogs' career list, and is third in career rebounds (705) and second in career blocks (186).

"Zane has been one of the best big men in the league since he got here," Baucom said. "At a military school, you don't have the luxury of having a lot of big men, and he's a big man trapped in a 6-6 body. I've seen him get beat up under the basket battling bigger guys for four years, and his expression hardly ever changes."

Zane Najdawi

Citadel senior Zane Najdawi is the only Bulldog ever with at least 1,600 career points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocked shots. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

The one disappointment for Frierson and Najdawi, of course, is that the Bulldogs have yet to put together a winning season during their four years. The Citadel is 11-15 overall with three regular-season games to play, starting against Samford on Saturday.

After a 9-2 start to the season, it seemed Matt and Zane's senior year would be a dream season. It hasn't turned out that way, at least not yet.

"That 9-2 start was something we'd never experienced here," Najdawi said. "We had a lot of confidence that this year could be the year we win 20 games. It was a lot of fun, and something I'll never forget."

Both players had pondered Air Force careers, but both have decided to give pro basketball a chance first. Either way, their legacies at The Citadel are secure.

"I've been at military schools for 14 years, and there's never been a question of anything about the two of them in the Corps of Cadets," Baucom said. "That's just unheard of.

"But the best thing about them," he said, "is that they are the kinds of kids you want your own sons to grow up to be."

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.