Brian Conklin sat in Eugene, Ore. in the summer of 2007 wondering where he might end up. He wasn't recruited heavily despite being the state's 5A player of the year.
All that changed on July 9, 2007, when Conklin made the call to Rick Majerus to become a Billiken.
Fast forward to today, and Conklin has etched himself as one of the exemplary student-athletes to come through SLU in recent memory. Sporting a 3.7 undergraduate GPA, a 3.9 GPA in his MBA work, and topping the 1,000-point mark have been just a few highlights during his career.
"When I recruited him, I told him it was a distinct possibility," head coach Rick Majerus said. Majerus has coached five other players who earned Academic All-American accolades. "I'm very excited for him. It's the best award of any awards you can get. It's certainly the most prestigious."
Conklin has excelled on the court this season as well. He's having a career year, leading the Billikens in scoring (13.9 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.1 rpg).
"When [Brian] Kunderman told me last night, it was pretty special," Conklin said of the award. "It would be the nice cherry on top to be able to dance in my last year and just have a fun time with it."
One of his best friends, teammate Kyle Cassity, endured a lot of nights with him studying for tests.
"That'd be a question to ask Kyle," Conklin said about helping out other teammates. "We took a lot of classes together, we worked off each other. . .Kyle and I definitely got each other through school."
Conklin credits most of his success to staying organized and on task. Armed with a planner in hand, he pays meticulous attention to what he needs to get done throughout the day.
"Brian gave an A-effort, an A-plus effort to get A-plus grades," Majerus said.
With Xavier coming up next Tuesday, it marks the end of a career for Conklin at Chaifetz Arena. Several members of the Conklin family will be in attendance for his Senior Night.
"I love all these guys. They've been a part of my four years in college," Conklin noted of his teammates.
After four years at SLU, what sticks out most to the 6-foot-7 forward?
"It would have to be something with Kyle and myself. Just the bond we have, the friendship we have. He's going to be one of my best men in the wedding. Definitely happy for that. He was very happy to be honored with that. We're definitely going to be in touch for however long we live," Conklin said.
"I'm so proud of Brian, I'm so happy for Brian. This is kind of a Brian day," Majerus said.
As for now, Conklin is enjoying his last couple weeks as a collegiate athlete. He doesn't know what the future holds. Whether it is playing basketball "until my legs fall off" or getting a job in the real world, he looks well on his way to success.