Valpo Men’s Basketball Signs Four Players Wednesday

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball program will welcome a freshman class with an international flavor to campus next fall, as head coach Matt Lottich announced Wednesday that four incoming freshman have signed National Letters of Intent to join Valpo Basketball. Illinois swingman Donovan Clay is joined by Emil Freese-Vilien, a center from Denmark; Ben Krikke, a forward from Canada; and Sigurd Lorange, a guard from Norway.

Donovan Clay – 6-7; G/F; Alton, Ill.; Alton H.S.

Clay comes to Valpo after earning First Team All-State honors from the IBCA last season as a senior. Clay, who also was an Honorable Mention All-State selection this season by the Associated Press, led Alton in scoring, averaging 18 points per game. He helped lead the Redbirds to 23 victories and a regional championship as a senior.

Lottich on Clay: “Donovan brings a unique combination of size, athleticism and effort at his position. We have seen him defend high-level point guards and dominant interior players. Donovan’s versatility and competitiveness will fit with our team. Donovan is one of those players that can fill up a stat sheet quickly. We expect big things from Donovan.”

Emil Freese-Vilien – 6-10; C; Copenhagen, Denmark

Freese-Vilien most recently played in the Danish Basketligaen, Denmark’s highest professional basketball league, for Vaerlose, averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in 12.3 minutes of action off the bench. He has represented Denmark internationally, competing in the 2015 FIBA U16 European Championships and the 2017 U18 European Championships. At the latter event, he averaged 7.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Lottich on Freese-Vilien: “Emil will be an interior force for many years. He is very mobile, has great hands, great touch, sets great screens and embraces the physicality of the game. Emil has played at a very high level internationally and should be able to adjust to the collegiate game quickly. Emil is excited about being part of Valpo Basketball and we are thrilled he will join our community.”

Ben Krikke – 6-8; F; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Krikke most recently played for Jasper Place H.S., leading the team to the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association provincial championship. He earned a spot on the BioSteel All-Canadian Game roster and was MVP of the Alberta Basketball All-Star Showcase, scoring 37 points. He competed internationally for Team Canada at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, averaging 9.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while helping Canada to a fourth-place finish.

Lottich on Krikke: “Ben has the potential to be a high-level offensive player. He is very skilled and efficient on the interior and has the ability to step out and shoot the 3. Ben has competed internationally for his home country Canada and has enjoyed tremendous success. Ben’s versatility as a basketball player will be a huge addition to the Valpo Basketball program.”

Sigurd Lorange – 5-11; G; Trondheim, Norway

Lorange most recently played for Gimle Basketball in the BLNO, Norway’s top professional basketball league. He helped lead Gimle to a league runner-up finish, averaging nearly 20 points and better than four assists per game. Lorgane has represented Norway internationally each of the last three years, playing at the 2016 U16 European Championships and the 2017 and 2018 U18 European Championships. Last summer, he averaged 17.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for Norway at the U18s.

Lottich on Lorange: “Sigurd is a high-level shot maker and distributor. He has competed at a high level internationally and has enjoyed great success. Sigurd loves the game and puts a ton of time into it. The best way to describe Sigurd is he is a gym rat. This young man is competitive and is proud to be at Valpo. His leadership and skill will be a huge addition to Valpo Basketball.”