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Area teams make splash on Signing Day

Verbal commitments turned to signatures Wednesday at North Dakota State and Minnesota State Moorhead, the first day of the NCAA early signing period. If the Bison men's basketball team wants to get back to the NCAA tournament in the future, they ...

Verbal commitments turned to signatures Wednesday at North Dakota State and Minnesota State Moorhead, the first day of the NCAA early signing period. If the Bison men's basketball team wants to get back to the NCAA tournament in the future, they got a good start with forwards Marshall Bjorklund and TrayVonn Wright.

Both carry credentials that put them on the national recruiting radar, albeit mostly the mid-major level. Bjorklund is a 6-foot-8 power forward who already has power heading into his senior season at Sibley East High in the Twin Cities. He averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocked shots as a junior and was Minnesota Class 2A all-state selection.

Wright is considerably leaner at 6-7 and 180 pounds. A state high jump champion in track at Waterloo West (Iowa), he has athletic ability that Bison head coach Saul Phillips called "freakish."

"That is one of the highest compliments in basketball," Phillips said. "The big word with TrayVonn is potential. He has tremendous athleticism and his best basketball is in front of him."

Wright averaged 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots as a junior.

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NDSU also announced signings in softball, baseball, golf, volleyball and women's basketball, which had one previously unreported addition in 6-foot forward Lauren Dudenhoeffer from Lee's Summit, Mo.

She caught the attention of the Bison coaches this summer.

"There's toughness about this kid that you can't explain," said NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff. "You see it."

The verbal commitments included one local player in Moorhead High center Miki Stephenson. DeHoff said the hope is Stephenson will help the Bison right away next year.

"Size, athleticism, physicality and depth at our forward and bigs positions were fulfilled greatly with this class," DeHoff said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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