Men's Basketball Signs Two Junior College Standouts
May 6, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- The Pepperdine men's basketball team has signed two junior college standouts to national letters-of-intent, head coach Marty Wilson announced today. In 2011-12, the Waves will add a pair of foreign-born players in guard Nikolas Skouen (Bergen, Norway/Olsvikasen HS/Pratt CC) and forward Moriba De Freitas (Bon Air Gardens, Arouca, Trinidad/Trinity College East/Williston State JC).
Skouen will have three years of eligibility at Pepperdine while De Freitas will have two.
"Niko has the great ability to shoot the ball from outside, which is something that we have been lacking," Wilson said. "He is also a good athlete and defender who will have the opportunity to come in and be an immediate impact player for us. Moriba is a long and athletic forward who brings all of the intangibles you'd want. His ability to run and finish at the rim, as well as be a defensive presence with his shot-blocking ability, will be valuable to us."
As a freshman this past season at Pratt (Kan.) College, the 6-foot-4 Skouen was the Beavers' second-leading scorer as he averaged 14.9 points per game. An excellent shooter from distance, he made a team-best 75 three-pointers and connected on 36% of his attempts. He also averaged 5.1 rebounds and was second on the team with 37 steals. He scored a season-high 32 points in the team's season finale vs. Barton County. Skouen is part of the Norwegian National Team system and expects to play with the senior team this summer.
"Niko is the hardest worker I have ever coached, and I am positive that hard work will represent PCC well on the next level," Pratt Coach Jesse Shaw said. "He came here with a dream, he did everything in his power to achieve that dream, and he landed in a big-time Division I Conference because of his work ethic. He's exactly the kind of person you want to see achieve success, and we will be pulling for him at Pepperdine."
De Freitas, who stands 6-foot-9 and has the nickname of "Blackjack," played two seasons at Williston (N.D.) State. As a sophomore, he averaged 6.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 50.5% from the field. He started 19 of 20 games, though he missed two months with a broken hand. De Freitas was part of 49 victories, two Region XIII championships and two Mon-Dak Conference titles with the Tetons. As a freshman, he came off the bench to average 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
"Blackjack is very excited about the opportunity at Pepperdine," Williston State Coach Hunter Berg said. "For most people, Blackjack's stats aren't eye-popping. But if you watch him play and watch him closely, he can do amazing things. He is a tremendous defender, in my opinion, capable of guarding almost every position on the floor. He has incredible basketball instincts and is one the quickest learners we've ever had in our program. And the best thing about Blackjack is that he comes to play every single game out. He is a warrior, a true competitor, who loves to play. His intensity should be a model for other players to try and match. The last two years, he has been a great teammate and leader on two very good teams. Offensively, I believe his game will get better and better. His upside is huge. We will miss Blackjack greatly in our program. It's been an absolute pleasure coaching him. I'm very proud to say that I know him and that I could be around him for two years."