WOLFVILLE, NS–It’s not often that a big man is more comfortable playing on the perimeter than in the post, but with Owen Klassen, that’s exactly the case.
Standing at 6’10, Klassen is fresh off an impressive sophomore campaign that saw him average over 18 points and almost two 3-pointers per game for the Acadia Axemen. And while it’s scary enough to deal with that kind of size on the perimeter, what’s even more alarming for opponents is that Klassen averaged a solid nine rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. For his efforts, he was named an AUS Conference All-Star.
“When I started playing basketball, I was convinced was going to be a guard, so I would always work on my jump shot and dribbling,” says Klassen, explaining the genesis of his style of play.
“I’m very comfortable with catching-and-shooting from the perimeter, and I like to use my skill and length in the post.”
A self-described “player who can do a little bit of everything”, Klassen was heavily relied upon by the Axemen after showing his potential during his rookie season, where he put up a respectable 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
“This year I played a much bigger role than my first year. I was counted on to be able to score every night and was in the game at crucial moments,” Klassen says.
The team’s trust in Klassen proved wise, as he helped Acadia ovecome an up-and-down season to reach the CIS Final Eight tournament. More importantly, it forced him to become a more well-rounded presence, helping the already versatile Klassen become that much more dangerous.
“I have been working with our coaching staff on my post game to give us more options to score off the block. I’ve also been working at playing off the dribble so I can get to the basket, and my passing to help me find my teammates when I draw attention.”
Outside of the CIS, Klassen will also be representing Canada in the upcoming 26th annual Summer Universiade in China, which will pit some of the best university ball players from several different countries against each other.
Not bad for a player who went through most of his high school career without much attention from Canadian basketball circles. And while Klassen has certainly proved himself to be worthy of national attention, he’s not about to rest on his laurels quite yet.
“We’re (Acadia) hoping to build on last year and be at the Nationals competing for a championship,” Klassen tells NPH. “We’ve gained a lot of depth with our incoming recruits and we have redshirts who will become eligible to play this year.” He adds,
“I wouldn’t mind being an All-Canadian before my career is over, but I’m more focused on helping my team win a championship.”
While All-Canadian status of Klassen seems like a certainty in the very near future, a championship won’t be so easy to get. But when you centre your team around one of the most versatile players in the CIS, good things are bound to happen.
PHOTO COURTESY: Acadia/ Kings Count News