Chris Bjorklund was recruited by Division I basketball universities like Minnesota and Colorado during his four years at Brainerd High School.
Four years later, following a standout career at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Bjorklund is going through another recruiting process. This time the inquiries are from the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
"I'm going through almost the same process I was going through four years ago with recruiting for colleges," Bjorklund, a 1997 Brainerd High School graduate, said while visiting his family in Brainerd last week. "You get calls at night, you're answering questions, it's almost like interviewing. It's pretty crazy. It's like deja vu, all over again."
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Bjorklund is attracting the attention of pro scouts after becoming the leading scorer in Cal Poly history with 2,006 points. In his Cal Poly career he averaged 18.2 points and 5.6 rebounds and was a 50 percent shooter.
As a senior he averaged 33.1 minutes and 4.9 rebounds, shot 48 percent from the floor and scored 507 points.
While the NBA remains a possibility, Bjorklund, 22, doesn't think he will be drafted. He believes a European league is probably reality for a player from a small Division I school.
"There are scouts out there, they are talking to agents, and the agents are trying to get me into their tryout camps," he said. "(The NBA) is a definite possibility, but what I'm looking at is Europe for sure.
"The NBA would be kind of a luxury to get into. Even if you get drafted in the second round, most of the players don't make it. Khalid El-Amin just got released. There's so much talent out there these days, and with all the young guys coming out, it's really kind of slim pickings for guys like us."
Bjorklund is in the process of hiring an agent and hopes to select one within a few weeks.
"It's a process I'm kind of confused about," he said. "I've never gone through it.
"They go to work for you. They try to get you in as many (NBA) camps as possible. They try to get you contracts. They try to get as much money for you as possible."
Bjorklund is hoping to play for a team in Eastern Europe. American players in Europe can earn six-figure, tax-free salaries and receive free housing and transportation.
"The trick of the trade over there is to take your money and invest it here slowly," he said. "Otherwise, if you bring it all back here in one lump sum you're going to get taxed."
Bjorklund and Cal Poly took their lumps in his four seasons. They were 9-19 his senior season, 44-67 (.396) in his career. Despite the record, Bjorklund said if he had to do it again he would attend Cal Poly, whose head coach, Jeff Schneider, resigned in January and was replaced by Kevin Bromley.
"We had to score in the 90s to win a game because our defense just wasn't there," Bjorklund said. "We were so offense-oriented under Coach Schneider.
"Coach Bromley tried to work on our defense. By the time we started getting the hang of it, 'Boom,' our season had ended. We weren't able to establish ourselves. Bromley had 14 games to coach us. I think he could have done a lot more if he would have been there the whole 28-game season."
Bjorklund said the coaching change was a distraction and it was different playing for someone other than Schneider.
"Cal Poly basketball without Jeff Schneider was a pretty big deal, especially around San Luis Obispo," he said. "Bromley did a good job during the transition period. He not only helped us through it, he helped the administration and the community, and it showed. A week and a half after the season he was hired full time."
Bjorklund finished as the seventh-leading scorer in Big West Conference history. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in his final collegiate game, a 71-66 loss to top-seeded California-Irvine in the first round of the Big West tournament.
"I never imagined that I would have the type of success I had there," said Bjorklund, who will graduate June 16 with a degree in marketing.
If his basketball career has ended he hopes to possibly get a job in sports marketing. He maintains a 3.2 grade-point average in business administration.
"Ideally, what I would like to do is go overseas for two or three years, and bank some money," he said. "Then I would like to come back and start my own business in the States. There are a couple options I would like to look at. I don't know if I can see myself working for someone right off the bat. I would like to see what I can do in basketball."
Even if he doesn't play another game, Bjorklund has done a lot.
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