Lutheran’s Ognacevic picks Valparaiso

jacob-ognacevicOne of the top senior basketball players in the state has decided where he will play in college.

Sheboygan Lutheran’s Jacob Ognacevic on Tuesday selected Valparaiso University, and he also had Division I scholarship offers from UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, UC-Davis, De Paul and Indiana State.

Other schools were also interested, which made the recruiting process quite interesting.

“It’s very exciting and fun, but it’s also really exhausting, too,” Ognacevic said. “Just getting all the phone calls from different coaches and getting new schools contacting you. It’s a lot of fun hearing from them, but it’s also very exhausting because you’ve got to keep in contact with them. They’re constantly calling and everyone’s trying to get you to their school.

“So, yeah, it’s a mix between fun and exhausting.”

Ognacevic, who helped Lutheran win the Division 5 State Championship as a junior, took his official visit to the school in Indiana on Sunday and Monday.

He called the coach the following night to commit, and says there were a lot of difference factors why.

“The biggest one was the faith aspect of it,” Ognacevic said. “Right now I go to a Lutheran school, and I really enjoy that, learning about God and just being in the faith. At Valpo, I can do that because it’s a Lutheran school. So that was really appealing to me. And then the fact that the coaches were just great. They recruited me really hard, they were always texting me, they were at all my games and they’re just really great people to be around.”

The Big East Conference co-player of the year who averaged 30.2 points and 15.7 rebounds per game last year added the Crusaders have a “pretty good team” with some young players who are “pretty solid.”

Another reason Ognacevic picked the school is the conference it plays in. Valparaiso has spent the last two seasons in the Missouri Valley Conference after taking first place in the Horizon League five of the previous six years.

“It’s one of the best mid-major conferences in the nation,” he said. “So that was really appealing, too.”

It also helped the drive to Valparaiso is about only three hours, which makes it easy for his family to visit and for him to return to Wisconsin.

“All those factors kind of mixed in to my decision,” Ognacevic said.

He also wanted to make up his mind before the season started, because he did not want to deal with the recruiting process during school.

“I just want to focus on winning a gold ball and having fun with my last year of high school basketball,” Ognacevic said. “I didn’t want to have to worry about all the college stuff.”

Ognacevic, who made the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Division 5 all-state team, now can finally relax.

“Yeah, I’m real happy that I get to just focus on enjoying my last summer home in Sheboygan with my family and friends,” he said. “I’m still practicing basketball, of course, but I don’t have any games or anything like that. It’s just the offseason right now.”

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