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Iowa Basketball: Hawkeyes Land Valpraiso Transfer Ben Krikke

The Hawkeyes dip into the portal for a big man to help out in a big way.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference Tournament- Valparaiso Crusaders vs Evansville Aces
The Hawkeyes added some help in the paint on Monday.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeye men’s team had a disappointing end to the 2022-2023 season when they were bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the first round by 9-seed Auburn. Now they turn to the 2023-2024 season with some gaping holes to fill.

Starting center Filip Rebraca, a transfer from South Dakota, is on to the next stage of his career after graduating. Rebraca was forced to play nearly 32 minutes per game this season due to a lack of depth in the front court. Behind Rebraca were only junior Josh Ogundele and sophomore Riley Mulvey.

Since season’s end, Ogundele has entered the portal, again, while the Hawkeyes also lost starting forward Kris Murray to the NBA Draft. Which is to say Fran McCaffery’s most pressing need for this season was finding someone to plug in at center to give Mulvey more time to develop.

On Monday, McCaffery did just that as Valpraiso grad transfer Ben Krikke announced his intentions to transfer to Iowa.

Krikke, interestingly, appears to be quite similar to the departing Rebraca. A native of Alberta, Canada, Krikke is listed at 6’9” and 230 lbs - the same size as Rebraca. His game is also quite similar, though Krikke is a lefty and appears to have a bit more range than Hawkeye fans saw from Rebraca during his time in Iowa City

Krikke is fresh off a 1st Team All-MVC season where he led the Valley in scoring at 19.4 points per game and tallied 5.9 boards per contest. He’s a career 80% free throw shooter and shot 54% from the floor over the last four seasons at Valpo. His 3-point percentage is not impressive at 27%, but he shows good form and averaged nearly two attempts per game last season. He also shot 34% from deep as a true freshman so there is reason to believe he can stretch a defense.

On the block, Krikke shows solid footwork, including the patented Rebraca jump-hook. He’s not as deadly with it, but also perhaps not as dependent on going to his dominant hand. Per College Basketball Scouting, Krikke average 1.13 points per possession on post-ups, which accounted for 22% of his scoring. That ranks in the 94th percentile nationally for efficiency on the block.

From the perimeter, Krikke averaged 1.03 points per possession in pick and roll or pick and pop, placing him in the 54th percentile nationally. In spot up situations (both from deep and inside the arc), he averages just under a point per possession, good for 60th percentile nationally. That’s serviceable though clearly not as elite as his work on the block.

Notably, Krikke excels in transition. He averaged 1.41 points per possession in transition, good for 93rd percentile nationally. In Frans system, that appears to be a perfect fit - a big that can get his own on the block, is capable of stretching the defense a bit and will run the floor.

Beyond the offensive production, Krikke is a solid rebounder. At 5.9 rebounds per game, he finished the year 11th in the Missouri Valley in rebounding became just the third player in the conference since 2005 to average at least 17 points and 5 rebounds while shooting better than 75% from the line and 50% from the field, joining Missouri State’s Isiaih Mosley and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.

In terms of what he brings to the floor, Krikke says he has versatility to his offensive game, which he has molded after some of the greats.

The addition of Krikke still leaves the Hawkeyes with some needs in the portal this cycle. In addition to the aforementioned Rebraca, Iowa loses Connor McCaffery to graduation. They also lost Ahron Ulis to the portal, along with the already noted Ogundele. With Murray declaring for the draft, that gives Iowa five total departures to-date.

The Hawkeyes have four freshmen slated to arrive for next season, including a pair of bigs in Owen Freeman and Ladji Dembele. With Krikke on board, the Hawkeyes still have two open scholarships to fill for the 2023-2024 season. Iowa is expected to add another big via the portal with Merrimack F/C Jordan Minor slated to visit this weekend and Wofford F BJ Mack expected to visit April 17th.

Krikke will have one year of eligibility in Iowa City. Welcome aboard Ben Krikke!

Ben Krikke, PF
Ht: 6’9”
Wt: 230 lbs
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta (Jasper Place via Valpraiso)
Portal Ranking: Rivals - 10th; 247 Sports - 36th