Skunberg having breakout season for Bison men's hoops
Skunberg was named the Summit League Peak Performer of the Week for the week of Dec. 5.
FARGO, ND — As he moves into being an upperclassmen, Jamestown native Boden Skunberg is having a breakout season for the North Dakota State University Bison.
“I think it’s a lot more confidence coming into this year, being a leader,” Skunberg said. “The coaches and players have put a lot of confidence in me. They’ve allowed me to be more of who I am.”
Through 19 games, the junior guard is averaging a career-high 13.6 points per game on 41% from the field with 4.9 rebounds per game, 34 total assists, four total blocks, and nine total steals. This season, Skunberg has already broken his career-high five times, most recently scoring 25 points in a 78-65 win over Omaha on Jan. 14. This season, Skunberg is averaging the most minutes per game on the team at 30.9.
“You’ve kind of always seen it, just an opportunity now based on some personnel things,” Bison head coach David Richman said. “He’s a fierce competitor, unbelievable work ethic, a guy that’s consumed with the game of basketball.”
Skunberg has been in the top two in scoring five times in the team's eight wins this season. Skunberg has been top two in scoring in only four of the team’s 11 losses.
Skunberg credits his big season to the fact that he put in a lot of work during the summer.
“The offseason pretty much just worked out every day that’s all I really did in the summer, relaxed on the weekends,” Skunberg said. “Our whole team worked out too but it’s all about getting the extra shots up after the workouts and practices, that’s the biggest thing to go to the next level.”
This season, Skunberg is one of four upperclassmen on the Bison roster. Skunberg said this season he has put a concerted effort into becoming more of a leader and somebody that the underclassmen can look toward as a calming presence on the floor. Richman said Skunberg is looked at as a leader for what is an inexperienced Bison squad.
"We’re all watching guys like Boden’s behavior and that’s the start of great leadership,” Richman said.
Skunberg’s 13.6 points per game is good for second on the team behind Devils Lake native Grant Nelson.
“A guy from Wahpeton, North Dakota like myself, you got Grant Nelson from Devils Lake and obviously Boden from Jamestown, those guys have grown up with a familiarity, a passion for NDSU,” Richman said. “They put forth a little more effort based on those things, wanting to be at a place, a place that means something special to them. That carries over and permeates into the rest of the guys on the team.”
Skunberg and Nelson came to the Bison in the same recruiting class and Skunberg said the two have grown very close over their time in the program.
“I feel like that connection is built off the floor,” Skunberg said. “He’s one of my best friends since I came to college so that all starts off the floor. We’ve built a really good connection, we work out a lot together. We know each other’s games so we complement each other well.”
Richman said the most underrated part of Skunberg’s game is not seen on a stat sheet but instead the way he plays the game.
“I think it’s the emotion and passion,” Richman said. “I know when everybody wants when you talk skill, everyone wants to talk about a basketball skill, to me everybody at this level has got a pretty good level of skill. It’s more the mindset, the competitiveness that it takes to excel at this level, night in and night out.”