The summer when Andre put some teeth into Marshall’s game

The summer when Andre put some teeth into Marshall’s game

Andre Smith

This weekend is probably the last home game for a crew of seniors on the NDSU men’s basketball team. It’s possible if the Bison lose in the Summit tourney they could host an N.I.T. game but that’s a scenario nobody on the team really cares to think about. One of those seniors is center Marshall Bjorklund. Here’s an interesting tidbit from talking with those involved in his career for a story in Thursday’s newspaper:

  • Bjorklund, a farm kid from Arlington, Minn., played only one summer of AAU ball in high school, mainly because work on the 2,400-acre corn or soybean and livestock operation was needed. Once at NDSU, however, former Bison standout Andre Smith worked out with Bison players — especially Bjorklund — one summer. Smith is a veteran overseas professional. “He was by no means nice to us,” Bjorklund said of the workouts and scrimmage games. “He was going to let us have it. But he kept us energized and he taught me a few things that have translated over to this season. We have a similar style of play and that helped.”

Head coach Saul Phillips compared it to last summer when Ben Woodside, currently playing in Italy, worked out with Bison guard Taylor Braun. “His biggest growth came the summer Andre Smith came back,” Phillips said. “Andre has nothing in common with Marshall except that they’re both extremely gifted with ball fakes, balance and finishing in the low post. Andre had his moments with Marshall and it really paid huge dividends.”

  • Bjorklund isn’t sure of his pro potential, saying he first needs to take care of a few injuries after the season before he gives that a thought. In the last couple of years, he’s had a broken nose, chipped tooth and knee and shoulder problems. “I’ll have some opportunity if I want to,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”


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