Sept. 15, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - Former Northern Illinois women's basketball players Ebony Ellis and Marke Freeman recently signed professional contracts to play in the PLKK, a Polish basketball league.
Once former teammates and All-Mid-American Conference selections, the duo will now get a chance to compete against each other in a professional environment. Ellis (2007-11), the ninth player in NIU history to grab 800 career rebounds, signed with Odra Brzeg in August and wrapped up training camp last weekend.
Freeman (2008-11), a two-time All-MAC selection, signed with Tecza Leszno on Monday and leaves for Poland Thursday. The 2008-09 MAC Sixth Player of the Year is only the third player in school history to average at least 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game for a career, joining former WNBA players E.C. Hill and Stephanie Raymond, who also plays in the PLKK as a member of LKS Siemens AGD Lodz. Freeman is the 26th and most recent addition to NIU's 1,000-point club.
"I believe really strongly that they created this opportunity for themselves by seeking out what was available after last season," said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett, who coached both players during their final campaign as Huskies. "They also worked really hard to keep getting better.
"They were both in the final four and spent the money to get into a tryout of sorts, where they were in front of scouts. They both performed extremely well. I had a chance to be there and watch that. It was really exciting. For our program, their ability to play at the next level will help us with what we are trying to do here too."
The PLKK season starts in October and lasts through March. For more information, visit EuroBasket.com.