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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga adds Jacob Larsen, another big man from Europe

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, who take a global approach to recruiting, found the newest member of their 2016 recruiting class in Denmark.

Jacob Larsen, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center, joins Gonzaga’s highly rated 2016 class with fellow bigs Zach Collins and Killian Tillie, and shooting guard Zach Norvell, who is expected to sign next week.

Gonzaga will lose Przemek Karnowski and Kyle Wiltjer after this season to graduation, and possibly sophomore forward Domantas Sabonis to the NBA Draft. The Zags’ class, ranked 13th by and 23rd by, helps restock the frontcourt where options next season could include Sabonis, Missouri transfer Johnathan Williams, sophomore center Ryan Edwards, Collins, Tillie and Larsen.

Larsen picked Gonzaga over Marquette and Maryland. Larsen and Collins were on the same recruiting trip to Spokane for Gonzaga’s Kraziness in the Kennel last month.

“The choice was between three great schools, but I felt that Gonzaga was the best choice for me, basketball and school wise that fit my personality,” Larsen wrote in an email.

Gonzaga’s frontcourt is anchored by Poland’s Karnowski and Lithuania’s Sabonis. Recent frontcourts featured Germany’s Elias Harris and Canada’s Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk.

“It was definitely a plus,” Larsen said of GU’s track record of success with international players. “Both on the basketball court, knowing that the coach has trained and developed Europeans like myself, but also knowing that they have experience with European players as they can be different culture wise.”

The 7-foot Collins, who can play forward or center, is considered the most game-ready of the three incoming freshmen bigs. Larsen and Tillie are skilled players with high ceilings in terms of their potential to develop.

Larsen won the MVP award for the FIBA 2013 U-16 Division B European championships, scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to lead Denmark to the title. He attended the Basketball without Borders Camp for the top U-18 international players held during the NBA’s All-Star weekend in New York last February.

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