In case you haven't been tuned in to the recruiting services, Steven Bjornstad, the 6'10' center out of Columbia River HS in Vancouver (Wash.), is reportedly interested in WSU. And vice versa. This after getting his release from the University of Nevada (due to the coaching change) this Spring. According to Scout.com he's also interested in that one team that beat us in the NIT last season. You know, the one that plays in a glorified high school gym (also the team that loses Patty Mills to the NBA next year).
Anyway, Bjornstad is a classic big man, and we need a classic big man. It's easy to get excited about him for that reason. Furthermore, Bjornstad is in the class of 2009, and with Witherill's release and Boeke's departure there is a scholarship available (even after the one awarded to Enquist, if my math is correct). It's safe to say that Bjornstad is the only recruit capable of earning that scholly, which otherwise may sit for a year to balance out our ridiculously young classes (thanks, Tony!).
The question is this: is Bjornstad the big man we need? There is video of Bjornstad (he's the big blonde guy in white), although there's really not a whole lot to be gleaned from it:
Really only Ken Bone knows if Bjornstad is a good fit for his new style of play. The funny thing about this recruit is that he really seems more like a Tony Bennett type of player: an underrated "mid-major" prospect with physical tools and the potential to develop into something special. Of course, with his size and strength, he is a better fit for this current roster than Tony's former 2009 recruit, David Chadwick.
Here's what ESPN had to say last September:
Like most bigs Bjornstad is a late-developing prospect with a significant amount of upside. He has a terrific frame with long arms and he possesses decent bounce and better-than-average quickness for a player his size. His offensive game is still developing, but he has terrific hands and great mobility. He scores most of his points on put-backs, but he has a high basketball IQ and overall a great feel for the game. He needs to get stronger and continue to polish his post skills, but after one year getting acclimated to the college game, Bjornstad should have an outstanding career at Nevada because his upside is considerable.
Sometimes I wish I had decent bounce.
ESPN also rated him as the #35 center, if you're in to rankings and stuff.
It's becoming clear that Casto can't do it all by himself; he'll need another big body patrolling the paint and Bjornstad might be just that. Enquist can provide a lift, but I'm still unsure if he can be Robbie Cowgill 3.0 (assuming that Caleb Forrest was 2.0).
The more I think about it, the more I like it. After all, it was only a couple of years ago that the Bennetts took a chance on a big Aussie with rough skills, who couldn't catch a ball in traffic to save his life. And that player turned out to be pretty darn good. Bjornstad is already more refined than Aron Baynes was on arrival.
Now we just wait and see if Ken Bone adds one more to the class of '09.