St. Thomas grad Isaac Rosefelt signs pro deal in Spain

St. Thomas grad Isaac Rosefelt signs pro deal in Spain

Isaac Rosefelt, who led the Tommies to a 62-18 record since 2004 including back-to-back conference basketball championships, has signed a professional contract to play in Spain.

The 6-foot-9 Rosefelt, a two-time All-American, had 44 double-doubles in 80 games for the Tommies before he finished his college eligibility last spring. He will leave Aug. 6 for Cordoba, Spain, where he'll compete in a new, 18-team LEB Bronze League.

The Cordoba team starts workouts in mid-August and begins its schedule in mid-September. Rosefelt will be one of two American players on the expected 12-14 player roster.

Rosefelt and his agent chose Cordoba after looking into opportunities in Israel, Germany and Sweden.

"Spain is a place I've always wanted to go, and it's a relatively easy place to travel to for my family," Rosefelt said. "There's a direct flight from Chicago to Cordoba. I only speak a little Spanish right now but I think when I become immersed in the language it will come a little easier."

According to the Eurobasket.com website, more than 160 Americans played on nearly 70 teams in various pro leagues in Spain last season, including Division I alums Arriel McDonald and Quincy Lewis of Minnesota, Luke Recker of Iowa, and Minnesotan Darius Lane of Seton Hall.

Rosefelt, a St. Paul native and St. Thomas Academy graduate, played his freshman season at Division I Bowling Green before he transferred to St. Thomas and starred three seasons at center. In Spain, he expects to play more at small forward or power forward.

"I will probably play more on the perimeter, and I've been working on my dribbling and outside shooting," Rosefelt said. "I'll also have to defend players out front more. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Rosefelt said every collegiate player dreams of playing at some pro or semi-pro level. He sees this as a unique opportunity to test his basketball skills and expand his cultural horizons.

"My long-range plan is to go to law school -- I'd really like to go to St. Thomas' law school," he said. "But I need to pursue this for now and see where it takes me."

Rosefelt received some valuable exposure last April when he was among 60 players from Division II and III and NAIA teams chosen to play in the inaugural Collegiate Basketball Invitational.
 
A repeat pick as NABC Division III West Region Player of the Year, Rosefelt swept All-America honors from d3hoops.com, the NABC and Basketball Times in each of the last two seasons.

He also was a two-time conference Player of the Year. He's just the fourth two-time recipient of the men's hoops honor since it was created in 1990 joining UST's Karnell James (1995, 1997), Augsburg's Devean George (1998, 1999), and St. John's Troy Bigalke (2000, 2001).

Rosefelt (17.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg in 2006-07) led the Tommies to back-to-back MIAC titles in both the regular season and postseason. UST finished 24-4 last season and lost in the second round of the NCAA playoffs.

Rosefelt is the first player in the last 20 seasons to lead the MIAC in rebounding three consecutive seasons. He scored in double figures in his last 20 games this season. The Toms were 22-3 with Rosefelt on the floor last season and 62-18 in his three-year era. In 80 games at UST, he posted 44 double doubles and 68 double-figure scoring games and closed with 1,367 points, 859 rebounds and 177 blocks. He's now fourth in UST career rebounding and 12th in career scoring despite playing just three seasons. In nine career postseason games, Rosefelt averaged 16.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 2.0 bpg.