Oregon PF Gets Offer From SLU

North Eugene (Ore.) High School power forward Brian Conklin has drawn attention from Division I basketball programs from several programs throughout the Northwest and from at least one school out East. But apparently the big man also now has an admirer in the Midwest.

A 6-foot-8, 225-pounder, Conklin talked to new Saint Louis University coach Rick Majerus last week and came away with a scholarship offer.

"He's a great basketball mind," Conklin said. "It was great talking with him. We talked for about an hour. It was just fun talking basketball with him and academics. We talked about everything almost. He told me that I was one of the players he wants and he offered me."

The senior-to-be said he has six scholarship offers — Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Montana, Lehigh and Saint Louis — and has drawn interest from other schools like Washington State, Pepperdine and Santa Clara.

Conklin said he talked to Majerus for about an hour, with the first 20 minutes spent discussing academics and the coach's track record with academic All-American honorees.

That impressed the Highlanders' power forward, who said he has a 4.07 grade-point average because of his advanced placement classes.

"It definitely draws me toward Saint Louis because that's what I'm looking for, a good mixture of academics and basketball," Conklin said. "I feel that's really good at Saint Louis."

Conklin admitted that he didn't know much about the Billikens before speaking with Majerus. He knew about the new coach from his days at Utah, where he turned the Utes into a factor on the college basketball scene.

"It was actually an honor to be able get a call from him and talk to him and be offered to come play for him at his college," Conklin said. "Saint Louis isn't as well known, but after talking to him he said he's got great teams on the schedule and he's got some great recruits. He's ready to get Saint Louis out there and get them known."

Playing in the Midwest for a team like the Billikens might seem like an odd fit for a kid who grew up in Oregon, but Conklin insisted he's not opposed to leaving his home state for a new experience somewhere else.

"Unless Oregon came and offered, it wouldn't be too hard to leave the state," he said. "I like traveling a lot. I think it would be fun to go live somewhere else for four years. I'm kind of open to wherever. It wouldn't be too hard to pull me away from Oregon."

Conklin is already well known in his home state.

The North Eugene Highlanders went 28-0 last winter, defeating Roosevelt 38-28 in the Oregon Class 5 championship game. Conklin scored 16 points in that game, despite facing constant double teams. The Highlanders set a school record for wins and won the state title for the first time since 1977.

Conklin averaged 19.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and four assists per game and was named The Oregonian's Class 5A player of the year.

Majerus already has four verbal commitments in the Class of 2008 — 6-11 post players Brett Thompson and Willie Reed, point guard Kwamain Mitchell and shooting guard Femi John — with two more to give.

Brian Conklin Profile

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