After adding only one player in the transfer portal for the 2021-22 season, the Big Ten regular season championship-winning Ohio State Buckeyes added three this offseason. A player in that group is a Croatian graduate student with NCAA experience with the Patriot League’s American University.
Karla Vreš is a 6-foot-3 forward who’s worked hard on and off the court, with international success. Can that success transfer to the Scarlet & Gray? Vreš is next on the Land-Grant Holy Land player preview series.
Name: Karla Vres
Class: Graduate Senior
High School: Jensen Gymnasium Sodra (Stockholm, Sweden)
2021-22 Stats: 3.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.3 apg, .364 FG%, .308 3FG%, 1.000 FT%
In three seasons with the AU Eagles, Vreš had mixed results. Last season, following a career sophomore year where the forward averaged 8.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in seven starts and 10 appearances, Vreš took a spot on the bench. That didn’t mean she didn’t make an impact.
While Vreš’ minutes per game were reduced to 11.4 per game, the three-time Patriot League Honor Roll honoree made 21 appearances (two starts) with a career high 240 minutes. On Feb. 19, in one of Vreš’ two starts, she hit a three at the end of regulation to send the game against the Army West Point Academy into overtime.
Although the Eagles lost that game, American University entered the Patriot League tournament as a No. 2 seed and beat Bucknell University in the championship game. Vreš didn’t see time on the court that game, but did play in the lopsided 39-74 defeat to the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA tournament.
What to Expect
Vreš is what you’d expect from a European-based big. She can move in the paint and make the shots expected of a forward, but also threaten outside of the arc. Last season, Vreš hit a career high 16 threes out of 52 chances.
Monday’s exhibition blowout for the Buckeyes did include Vreš. The forward came into the game and played the final 5:37 of the fourth quarter. She didn’t take a shot, but added two rebounds and a single assist.
Vreš joins a team that preaches speed and intensity. There’s no doubt that she can learn the system. At 15 Vreš moved from Croatia to Sweden without knowing the language and ended her schooling as valedictorian. Maybe it was because the game was so out of reach, but Vreš’ speed didn’t match starting forward Rebeka Mikulášiková, her positional competition in the paint. On top of that, fellow transfer Eboni Walker received the lion’s share of minutes at the five position off the bench and impressed.
Expect Vreš to not match the minutes she played last year with American, but she’ll push the forward group in practice. Also, like Mikulášiková, Vreš can hit a long shot. That alone could get the Croatian time on the court.
Against Boston University, Vreš (15) had 12 points in 14 minutes. Watch Vreš hit from deep, a turnaround in the paint and a transition lay-up with the AU Eagles.
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