By Doug Halberstadt
He’s coming all the way from Norway to play college basketball at Northern Illinois University (NIU). That is the story of newly-acquired freshman recruit Aksel Bolin.
The 19-year-old Bolin graduated from Asker High School (Asker, Norway) in June 2009. He was a member of Norway’s All-Star Team during the European National Championships in each of the last four years (2007-10), and recently completed a stint playing in Poland with the Norwegian National Team.
He’s a 200-pound, 6-foot-7 shooting guard and will have four years of eligibility at NIU. Head Coach Ricardo Patton said: “Aksel is a big kid with good perimeter skills, and he’s going to be a great addition to our backcourt. He can shoot the basketball long range and stretch a defense, but what impresses me the most is his knowledge of the game.
“For guys that grow up playing a European style, they develop a good understanding of how to move without the basketball. Aksel is a great cutter, and is a very skilled player,” Patton added.
Last season, during the European Championships, he averaged 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting 77.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Bolin, who was born in Stockholm, Sweden, is the fifth member of Patton’s 2010-11 recruiting class, joining freshmen Kyree Jones and Nate Rucker, and junior college transfers Tim Toler and Cameron Madlock. Red-shirt freshman Antone Christian will also be eligible to play for the Huskies during the 2010-11 season.
Bolin shouldn’t have much of a problem adjusting to the cold weather here in northern Illinois once the basketball season gets under way. My guess is the winters here aren’t that much different from those in Norway. His biggest issue will come when it’s time to find a ride home for breaks.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the June 23-29, 2010 issue