Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography
Article by Andrew Jason
is Marshall Bjorklund
“When they talk about NDSU Basketball, they always talk about three years ago when they went to the tournament. Our motivation is to try and be that caliber of a team or better.”
You would think being the star of the NDSU Men’s Basketball team and leading the country in field-goal percentage would be a lot of pressure. Not for Marshall Bjorklund.
If you met Marshall Bjorklund on the street you probably wouldn’t think he was a force to be reckoned with on the Basketball court. This mild mannered, quiet 21-year old junior grew up in the small town of Gaylord, MN. Bjorklund grew up playing basketball on his parent’s farm.
“I’ve always played basketball,” Bjorklund said. “My mom always said that if I wasn’t helping my dad on the farm, I always had a ball in my hand… I’ve always had it in my blood…”
That childhood on the farm shaped him, not only as a basketball player but as a person as well. He is going to school for Agricultural Systems Management with a minor in Crop and Weed Sciences. What exactly does that mean, you ask? In short, it means he wants to take over his family farm with his brother and cousin.
Although he’s already thinking about his future, it doesn’t mean he’s enjoying every second of what he’s doing. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. That’s how I look at it. I can never play college basketball again. In little over a year from now, I’ll probablly never play again. That’s one thing that keeps you motivated, knowing how many games you have left in your career and make the most of them.”
Bjorklund is definitely making the most out of his college basketball career. Last month he led the country in field goal percentage, hitting 70 percent of his shots. He made 87 of 125 attempts, including a steak of 24 straight in a three game streak.
“Marshall is our rock, our anchor in a lot of ways,” said NDSU Men’s Basketball coach, Saul Phillips. “Not just pesonality wise but on the court as well. When the ball goes to him, things settle down. Things slow down in a good way for everyone on the court. It allows us to be tremonduosly efficient.”
Despite the pressure of helping lead a team that is out to win the Summit League, Bjorklund is calm, cool and collective. Throughout the years, he has grown comfortable and developed a better feel for the game. His strength in the paint has made him a dominant player. Despite his and the team’s success, they haven’t had any trouble handling the pressure.
“We don’t feel any pressure at all,” Bjorklund said. “We haven’t really accomplished anything. Our goal is to win the Summit League. We have it in the back of our mind that we haven’t really accomplished anything.”
However, it’s easy to feel any pressure when you have the type of motivation that Bjorklund has. When he was a junior in high school, his father, Dale Bjorklund, was diagnosed with cancer. His father has always been a role model for Marshall. That incident allowed the Bjorklund family and his community to rally together and made them closer. In fact, Bjorklund’s entire basketball team shaved their head in support of his father. That incident and those hard days changed his outlook on life.