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UND's Lexi Klabo signs pro contract with Belgium team

UND's Lexi Klabo rises above the Western Illinois defense for a shot during a game this season at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Roughly two years into her collegiate career at UND, Lexi Klabo thought more and more about a professional basketball career.

Not surprisingly, her play steadily improved as well in her final two years with the UND women's basketball program.

As a result, Klabo indeed will play professionally as the UND senior has signed with Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen in Mechlin, Belgium, a town located 15 minutes from Brussels.

"The last two years, I've had that as my goal," said Klabo of a pro career. "I'm definitely excited about it. My agent said the team plays an up-tempo style and scores a lot of points."

Kangoeroes Mechlin is a member of the Top Division One League in Belgium. The club posted a 15-6 record last season and finished fourth in the conference to earn a playoff spot. Kangoeroes advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs, sweeping Liege in quarterfinals and eventually falling to league champion Castors Braine.

After her senior season, Klabo signed with Wiesel Sports, LLC before taking part in the Pro Hoop Combine in Tampa, Fla., in conjunction with the women's Final Four last month.

The combine included some of the top players in the country and was held in front of WNBA coaches, front office personnel and European scouts.

"It was a little stressful," Klabo said. "I signed with (my agent) before the combine because he knows a lot of European coaches and teams. I had some other offers after I finished in Tampa but (my agent) knew this team well and they're pretty good."

The chance to play at a pro level and see the world also was a plus, said Klabo, a first-team Summit League selection and a semifinalist on the Cheryl Miller Award—presented annually to one of the top players in the country.

"It will be exciting to live there and be on my own," said Klabo. "I want to take in all the experiences. I've never lived this far from home."

Klabo said she'll move to Belgium in the late summer. The season runs from August through April.

UND has had a handful of players move on to the professional ranks.

"It's an exciting endeavor for Lexi, and I'm proud of her effort," said UND women's coach Travis Brewster. "It's quite impressive to be graduating this spring, earning a degree while playing hoops, and then going to Belgium to keep playing professionally and go see the world at the same time."

Klabo is the seventh player from UND to sign a professional contract since UND made the jump to Division I and the 10th player since Brewster joined former coach Gene Roebuck's staff in 2007.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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