Putting pen to paper was a dream realized for Jamestown High School basketball standout Boden Skunberg.
After verbally committing to North Dakota State men's basketball last November, Skunberg made it official by signing his letter of intent with the Bison on Wednesday at the high school. Skunberg's parents, Eric and Julie, along with JHS athletic director Jim Roaldson, were present for the event.
"It's still pretty surreal, you know, having it signed, sealed and done," Skunberg said. "It's something I've looked forward to my whole life."
Competing at the NCAA Division I level is a dream that remains that way for countless prep athletes. Skunberg's dedication and ability have not only delivered the 6-foot-5, Class A all-state first-team selection to that plateau, but he's also joining a nearby program of which he's been a fan his entire life.
North Dakota State, guided by head coach David Richman, faced the storied Duke University Blue Devils and legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last March in Columbia, South Carolina. The Bison lost to the Blue Devils 85-62, but NDSU's fourth March Madness appearance in program history had Fargo and the state of North Dakota buzzing.
Richman (98 career victories) has guided the Bison to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in his first five seasons at the helm. NDSU wrapped up last winter at 19-16 and is currently 2-1 after three games.
"It means a lot to stay in state and have my family be able to watch me," Skunberg said. "I grew up watching the Bison, being a big fan of the Bison, and it's just awesome to be a part of it now."
Skunberg was one of four student-athletes signed by North Dakota State men's basketball on Wednesday. He joins Minneapolis guard Donald Carter III, Devils Lake forward Grant Nelson and Fargo Davies guard Grayson Haman as the Bison's 2020 recruiting class.
"I expect to contribute a lot my freshman year," said Skunberg, who added there are no current plans for him to redshirt. "I want to come in and make the biggest impact as possible right away."
With his college commitment out of the way, Skunberg explained he's ready to shift his full attention to his senior prep season and helping the undefeated Jamestown Blue Jays defend their Class A state championship. Skunberg posted per-game averages of 23.6 points and 7.8 rebounds as a junior guard, while the Blue Jays became the fourth Class A boys basketball team to win an undefeated state title at 27-0 last winter.
Skunberg is currently 68 points behind the Blue Jays' all-time scoring record with 1,277 career points. He set the school's single-game scoring record at 49 points last December in a win over Turtle Mountain Community High School.
Jamestown has been tabbed as the 2019-20 Class A favorite by The Hoopster. The Blue Jays open the season hosting Valley City on Dec. 6.
"There's obviously pressure there, but the best thing is to just not pay attention to it," Skunberg said. "Just go in and work hard every day at practice and just do what we can in every game of the season. Hopefully, we can do the same thing as last year."