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Sunrise Christian center Rauno Nurger signs with Wichita State

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at 7:02 p.m.

Sunrise Christian Academy center Rauno (RAH-no) Nurger will play basketball at Wichita State this season.

Nurger, 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, signed with Mississippi in the fall. When assistant coach Sergio Rouco left the school to join the staff at South Florida, Nurger decided to look elsewhere, Sunrise coach Luke Barnwell said. He was released from his letter of intent and signed a financial aid agreement with WSU. He will be a freshman this season and have four seasons of eligibility.

“I felt it’s a really good fit for me,” Nurger said. “It’s a really, really good program. They had an amazing season and it’s amazing how they’ve been increasing and increasing, getting better.”

Nurger, from Estonia, will join Sunrise teammate and roommate Zach Brown at WSU. Nurger practiced with his Shocker teammates for the first time on Tuesday, taking part in skills workouts with other big men. He said his style of play works well at WSU.

“I can run the floor pretty good,” he said. “I feel like, as a big man, I can shoot it outside a little bit so I can stretch the floor.”

Barnwell said Nurger averaged around 10 points and nine rebounds for Sunrise’s post-graduate team, made up of athletes who have graduated from high school.

“He’s tough, hard-nosed and really long,” Barnwell said. “He moves extremely well. He can defend a lot of different positions.”

Sunrise coaches describe Nurger as a player who can score in the post and shoot from three-point range.

“They're getting a guy that's got a chance to help them a lot, especially down the road, but maybe immediately,” said Kyle Lindsted, who coaches Sunrise’s high school team. “He's tougher than most European guys. He's never going to miss a day. He's going to go hard every second he's on the court.”

Nurger averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in last summer’s under-20 European Championships.

"Rauno is a long, active big man who plays with great energy,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said last fall. “His 7-2 wingspan gives him length and his exceptional timing will allow him to be a defensive presence for us from day one. We believe he has a huge upside.”

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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