By Carter Chapley
St. Louis, MO
The roster for the 2020-2021 Saint Louis University Men’s basketball season is starting to look more and more in view.
Going into next season, the Billikens have two open scholarships available, with one going unused this season and the other belonging to grad-transfer Tay Weaver. One of those free slots has already been formally filled by Florida wing Markhi Strickland, who you can read all about here. The second of those scholarships now appears to be filled.
Andre Lorentsson is a 6’8” forward from Sweden who, on February 27th, announced his commitment to SLU via his Instagram page. He had previously visited SLU and worked out for the program after team practice. He then sat behind the team bench during the Billikens home loss to the Duquesne Dukes.
The Swede currently attends high school in his native Sweden at Rig Mark Kinna, where he is now in his prep year. The school’s basketball team often travels internationally to compete in prep school tournaments. They went to Rhode Island at the end of January to compete in the National Prep School Tournament, where Andre scored 17, 22, and 23 points in their three games at the event. I’m told most of that scoring came from behind the arc.
He has also been a member of the Swedish Junior National Team for some time; Participating with the 16u and 18u teams dating back to 2017.
Andre is a classic modern-day Euro big man. He’s 6’8” shooter who still has a little bulking out to do. He moves fluidly for his size and can handle the ball well but will in no means be a primary ball-handler. He has been dangerous in transition and is excellent at moving without the ball and shooting coming off screens.
The most exciting facet of Andre’s game is his elite ability at passing the ball. Travis Ford’s big men have all been excellent passers and are clearly a point of emphasis he puts on the forwards he brings into the program. Lorentsson has excellent vision from both the inside and outside and will keep the ball moving whenever he is on the floor.
SLU was the only school Andre had visited, who traveled to midtown after the Prep event with his coach at RIG. He did, though, receive scholarships from other programs. Davidson and New Mexico State, amongst others, offered the young man a scholarship according to a source.
The addition of the Euro big man still needs to be formalized through his signing of his National Letter of Intent, which can be done as early as April 15th. Until then, no formal word of the signing will come from the program, nor will any comment on the player’s ability.
But what I do know is that Ford Stuen is once again at the core of this signing. Those who follow the assistant coach on Twitter know that Ford has been racking up the miles and points on the recruiting trail. The rookie coach shares his travels frequently on the social media platform, helping us form an idea of what is going on in the Billikens recruiting scene.
Early in the season, Stuen hopped the pond to Europe as part of a recruiting trip. He was making a stop in Barcelona, where he came across the underrated forward.
The Billikens now sit with a full docket of scholarships moving forward. However, the mindset of “always recruiting” will never stop. There are already significant conversations in circles outside the program that the team will have at least one more scholarship to offer come the summertime.
This is not the first time the Billikens have looked to the Scandinavian part of the world to supplement the roster. Last year the Bills had Ingvi Gudmundsson from Iceland join the program…however, that experiment didn’t pan out as he left school early. This looks not to be the same situation, as it seems like Andre will have a role to play right away next year.
The Bills have added shooting again and are looking to be one of the most profound offensive talents in the A-10 next year.
Andre won’t arrive in midtown till late in the summer. But once he gets here, many Billikens fans will be hailing “Heja Sverige!” or “Go Sweden.” At the very least, the Viking Clap done at Chaifetz Arena will be topical all year.