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In this photo taken March 24, Marshall Bjorklund, right, of Sibley East is defended by Erik Linn-Molin of Braham during a Class AA quarterfinal game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. (Associated Press)

Bjorklund of Sibley East is AP's Boys Basketball Player of Year

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By Dave Campbell, AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marshall Bjorklund hit the weights hard and made the gym his home over a standout career at Sibley East High School that saw him flourish into a 6-foot-7 force in the post.

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The work ethic was important, but a little sibling rivalry helped bring out his best, too.

Bjorklund broke his older sister Tera's school scoring record by finishing with 1,910 points in four years for the Wolverines. The milestone was one of many that made Bjorklund into the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year for boys basketball. The award was announced Wednesday.

Bjorklund beat out Kevin Noreen of charter school and Class 1A champion Minnesota Transitions for the award, with junior Joe Coleman of Class 4A champion Hopkins also receiving consideration. Joining Bjorklund, Noreen and Coleman on the AP's all-state team are Jacob Thomas of Columbia Heights and Alec Brown of Winona.

Bjorklund is the youngest of four kids. His sister, Tera, played in college at Colorado and even in the WNBA for a bit. The talent, as well as the competitiveness, clearly runs in the family.

Bjorklund's establishment of the Sibley East scoring record proved that.

"I don't think she was too happy about that," he said, "but she'll get over it."

Bjorklund averaged 25.4 points, 15.3 rebounds, 4.1 blocks, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game while helping the Wolverines advance to the Class 2A state tournament. Over four years -- he was promoted to varsity a few games into his freshman season -- Bjorklund accumulated 1,326 rebounds and 383 blocks. Those were also program records.

Sibley East, located in Arlington, north of Mankato and on the fringe of the southwest Twin Cities metro area, lost a 20-point lead with 6 minutes left in the quarterfinals and lost to Braham in overtime.

"We didn't go as far as we wanted every year, but we made it to the state tournament and that was a pretty big thing for our school," Bjorklund said. "We should've won our first game, but that's just how it goes."

That's a fitting response from Bjorklund, who in addition to the competitiveness has a don't-get-rattled attitude that made an impression on coach Todd Warzecha.

"He's somebody who's made up of amazing character," Warzecha said. "There's stuff that happens to him in games that doesn't get called -- that me as his coach gets worked up about -- but he always maintains his cool and his composure."

Bjorklund's footwork in the post and his ability to read the floor and play smart also stood out with Bjorklund, who will play at North Dakota State next season. He chose the Bison because of the school's strong agriculture program, a decision solidified when they made the NCAA tournament last year.

"Fundamentally, technically, he is the best player that I've ever seen," Warzecha said. "I've been going to the state tournaments for many, many years, and there's something just special about him that other players just don't have."

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Marshall Bjorklund, sr, Sibley East

FIRST TEAM

Marshall Bjorklund, sr, Sibley East

Kevin Noreen, sr, Minnesota Transitions

Joe Coleman, jr, Hopkins

Jacob Thomas, sr, Columbia Heights

Alec Brown, sr, Winona

SECOND TEAM

Dyami Starks, sr, Duluth East

Estan Tyler, jr, St. Paul Johnson

Trevor Gruis, sr, Ellsworth

Chad Calcaterra, sr, Cloquet

Ben Bucholz, sr, Perham

HONORABLE MENTION

Garrett Anderson, sr, Blue Earth Area; Matt Anderson, sr, Dawson-Boyd; Matt Bauduin, sr, East Grand Forks; Kyle Bauman, so, United South Central; Joe Beck, sr, Lake City; Ian Berg, sr, Sibley East; Mark Blacklock, jr, Winona; Anders Broman, fr, Lakeview Christian Academy; Preston Brunz, sr, Mankato West; Lucas Buttenhoff, sr, Mayer Lutheran; Cory Camerer, sr, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva; Ben Cameron, sr, Cass Lake-Bena; Jordan Clark, sr, Faribault Bethlehem Academy; Shaun Condon, sr, MACCRAY; Peter Crawford, sr, Benilde-St. Margaret's; Joey Cuperus, sr, Sebeka; Jordan Dick, sr, Wabasha-Kellogg; Tyler Dillon, sr, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown; Mike Drager, jr, St. Clair; Blayne Erie, sr, Goodhue; Aric Elton, so, Spring Grove; Michael Emge, jr, Faribault; Brett Ervin, sr, Eden Prairie; Taylor Filipek, sr, Willmar; Brendon Foss, sr, Hancock; Calvin Godfrey, sr, Robbinsdale Cooper; Connor Grupe, sr, Martin County West; Connor Gunderson, sr, Austin; Alex Hanks, sr, St. Cloud Tech; Nick Hanson, sr, Waseca; Taylor Hanson, sr, Minnehaha Academy; Tyler Hebrink, sr, BOLD; Neil Helgeson, jr, Kimball; Adam Hjelter, jr, Hutchinson; Mark Hoge, sr, Crosby-Ironton; Jake Holt, so, Windom Area; Galen Holzhueter, sr, Minnesota Valley Lutheran; Brett Hungerholt, sr., Lanesboro; Michael Johnson, sr, Grand Rapids; Yuri Johnson, sr, Ada-Borup; Tyus Jones, 8th, Apple Valley; Charlie Kern, sr, Belle Plaine; Charles Kolstad, sr, St. James; Dan Kornbaum, sr, Little Falls; Tanner Kramer, sr, Hayfield; Garrett Larson, so, Littlefork-Big Falls; James Lazarcik, sr, La Crescent; Blake Lea, sr, Rushford-Peterson; Nick Lee, sr, Blue Earth Area; Yuri Malashenko, sr, Jordan; Blake Maslonkowski, jr, St. Cloud Apollo; Travis Meinders, sr, Worthington; Jordan Milbrath, sr, Springfield; Shelby Moats, jr, Waconia; Cooper Nelson, jr, Blooming Prairie; Kyle Noreen, jr, Minnesota Transitions; Zach Noreen, sr, Albany; Scott Nystrom, sr, St. Cloud Tech; Clay Olstad, sr, Plainview-Elgin-Millville; Cole Olstad, jr, Plainview-Elgin-Millville; D.J. Peterson, sr, Hopkins; Nick Quicksell, sr, Woodbury; Zach Quiring, sr, New Ulm; Brodie Raymond, sr, St. Peter; Sam Richards, sr, West Central Area; Alex Richter, jr, Lakeville South; Zach Riedeman, sr, Forest Lake; Jordan Riewer, sr, Staples-Motley; Max Rosenbloom, sr, St. Paul Johnson; Mike Rostampour, sr, Henry Sibley; Tom Schalk, jr, Apple Valley; Jared Schultz, sr, Fergus Falls Hillcrest Academy; Tom Schwandt, sr, Moorhead Park Christian; Bobby Sherwood, sr, Mahtomedi; Marvin Singleton, jr, Hopkins; Jordan Smith, sr, Orono; Bryan Sprang, jr, Irondale; Cavan Stackpool, jr, Virginia; Eric Stark, sr, Grand Rapids; Erik Tengwall, sr, New London-Spicer; Joe Terfehr, sr, Breckenridge; Vaughn Thada, jr, Owatonna; Jonah Travis, jr, DeLaSalle; Tyler Trosen, sr, Cass Lake-Bena; Tyler Vaughan, so, Braham; Jace Whitcomb, sr, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted; Jordan Wiesen, sr, Canby; Martin Wind, sr, Cass Lake-Bena; Johnny Woodard, so, Duluth East; Freddie Young, jr, Brooklyn Center; Kyle Zimmerman, sr, Champlin Park.

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