Steven Bjornstad knew this day would come. He just did not expect it quite so soon.
After suffering from injuries and enduring surgeries to both knees, the 6-foot-11 center is hanging up his basketball sneakers and bypassing his final two years of collegiate eligibility.
“I’m staying at Washington State,” the Columbia River graduate said. “I’m going to get my degree and finish up.”
Bjornstad was a first-team all-state selection as a senior at Columbia River, leading the Chieftains to the state championship game.
But he was limited to 11 games as a freshman at WSU and appeared in three games last season.
He underwent surgery on both knees in April, and said he had his scholarship removed by Cougars coach Ken Bone.
“I have no anger toward him,” Bjornstad said. “He did what he had to do. My knees have gotten so bad I can’t handle basketball at the Pac-10 level.”
Rather than transfer and try to play elsewhere, Bjornstad will remain in Pullman and pursue a degree in history.
“I want to teach high school,” he said. “I’ve always had some teachers that made history interesting.”
His favorite period of history?
“The Revolutionary War,” Bjornstad said. “That is our separation and how we got started.”
With classes beginning Monday, Bjornstad must adjust to being a former basketball player for the first time.
“I think sitting in class not being a basketball player won’t be that hard,” he said. “But when 3 o’clock rolls around and practice starts, that’s when it will be difficult.”