Prep coach: WSU pursuing Vancouver big man

WHEN KEN BONE was at Portland State, he probably didn't have much of a chance at landing Steven Bjornstad, the 6-10, 215-pounder with the eye popping shooting percentage out of Columbia River High. Bjornstad originally signed with Nevada but Bone's chances would appear to be much better now that he's at Washington State.

David Long, Bjornstad's coach at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Wash., said Friday that WSU is one of six NCAA Division I schools that have contacted him to express interest in recruiting Bjornstad if he is released from his letter of intent with Nevada.

Bjornstad, a 6-foot-10, 228-pound power forward, recently asked for his release after head coach Mark Fox and assistant coach Kwanza Johnson (who coached big men) left Nevada for Georgia.

The Wolf Pack has refused to release Bjornstad from his letter of intent, so other schools cannot contact Bjornstad directly or publicly discuss their interest in him. Long said WSU and Portland have contacted him to make their interest in Bjornstad known.

Long declined to name the other schools that have contacted him, but said they include two West Coast Conference schools ("Not Gonzaga"), a Western Athletic Conference school and one in Texas. "I'm sure there'll be more once he's released," Long said.

Bjornstand cannot play Division I basketball next season without a release from Nevada.

"We don't know where he'll be next year, but it won't be Nevada," Bjornstad said. He added that Bjornstad also will not play for any WAC rival of the Wolf Pack.

A two-time first-team all-state player, Bjornstad led Columbia River to a second-place finish at the State 3A tournament in Tacoma this year. The Chieftains lost to Franklin of Seattle in the title game.

Long said Bjornstad shot a stunning 79 percent from the field for his three-year varsity career.

"Most people think it's a misprint," Long said.

Long said Bjornstad averaged about 15.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and four blocked shots per game this season.

"He got double- and triple-teamed all year long," Long said.

Long said Bone recruited Bjornstad for Portland State prior to his recent move to WSU, but Long said, "Ken was pretty realistic that he didn't have a shot at getting him at Portland State."

Long said Bjornstad "has a good upside" and should continue to gain weight and strength.

Washington State, with an incoming recruiting class of four, will put them at the maximum of 13 players on scholarship. Bone has said Charlie Enquist would be in line for a scholarship if Fabian Boeke, (who as CF.C reported earlier is giving up college basketball due to chronic back problems), receives an NCAA medical waiver so his scholarship would not count against WSU's total.

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