May 16, 2008
DeKalb, Illinois - Northern Illinois University head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton announced on Thursday that he has signed Highland Community College (IL) center Ante Dzepina (Kraljevica, Croatia/Highland C.C. (IL)) to a National Letter of Intent to play for the Huskies beginning in 2008.
"Ante instantly gives us maturity on our front line," NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton said. "He has a high basketball IQ and brings the toughness that is needed in the Mid-American Conference.
"He gives us a tremendous post presence both offensively and defensively."
Dzepina joins fellow signees Jerwin Callaway (Chicago, Ill./Marshall/Mineral Area College), Mike DiNunno (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben), Bryan Hall (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), Dominique Johnson (Detroit, Mich./Laura F. Osborn/Southwest Tennessee C.C.), Xavier Silas (Austin, Texas/Brewster Academy (N.H.)/Colorado), Keith Smith (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius) and Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo) to make up the Huskies' 2008-09 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Dzepina played a key role in helping Highland CC advance to the District IV Championship, averaging 6.0 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Cougars. As a freshman, Dzepina chipped in 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds-per-game as the Cougars advanced to the 2007 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Dzepina is the seventh player this season from Highland C.C., to sign a National Letter of Intent with a Division I school. He is also NIU's first foreign player since guard Markus Jankus (Hamilton, Ontario/Cathedral) played for the Huskies during the 2000-01 campaign.
The Huskies return seven lettermen in 2008-09, including 2008 MAC Freshman of the Year, Darion Anderson (Chicago, Ill./Carver Military Academy).