Conklin Talks About Decision

Brian Conklin has never been to St. Louis or visited the Saint Louis University campus. But the North Eugene (Ore.) High School forward will be visiting the school soon — and plans on staying for a while because of new Billikens coach Rick Majerus.

"Coach Majerus came and watched a workout yesterday," Conklin said on Monday night from Los Angeles. "The day before, Saturday, I got a letter from him and the coaching staff, pictures of the campus and some more literature on the school. … I figured I'd almost be crazy to pass up an opportunity to play for Coach Majerus."

Conklin committed to the Billikens on Sunday, choosing SLU over offers from Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Montana and Lehigh and interest from schools like Washington State, Pepperdine and Santa Clara.

Though he's never been on campus, Conklin was sold on SLU — even though it is 2,065 miles from St. Louis to Eugene.

"It really hit me with the letter he sent," Conklin said. "It was a great letter."

A 6-foot-8, 225-pounder who can play power forward or small forward, Conklin described the letter from Majerus as "three pages of talking about his commitment to me. His commitment to getting me better and getting me to where I want to be with my future."

And he's not just talking about his future on the basketball court.

Conklin has a 4.07 grade-point average, because of advanced placement classes, and is as accomplished in the classroom as he is on the court. Majerus cares about players' performance on and off the court, which was one of the selling points for the North Eugene forward.

Several factors contributed to Conklin finding SLU as the best fit for him.

"What he does to a player and their game and how he commits himself to getting players better, and not just basketball-wise," Conklin said. "Also teams. He's gone to numerous NCAA tournaments with different schools. Also the recruiting class. I'm Catholic. It's a Catholic school. They also have a good business program."

Conklin is the fifth member of SLU's recruiting class for the 2008-09 season. He said the Billikens want him to play small forward, which rounds out a starting five of point guard Kwamain Mitchell, shooting guard Femi John, power forward Willie Reed and center Brett Thompson.

"The three is what Coach wants me to come in at," Conklin said. "He talked about all of us knowing how to win. Three of us have won state championships. We're all team players. Together, the chemistry is going to be great."

Conklin led the North Eugene Highlanders to a 28-0 season last winter, defeating Roosevelt 38-28 in the Oregon Class 5 championship game. 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.

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