The Credit is Due: A Chat with Angie Bjorklund

With the 2011 season a few weeks away, Angie Bjorklund is one of several Chicago Sky rookies determined to help this team make the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Drafted 17th overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft, she joins the Sky with some impressive accomplishments. In her four years playing for the University of Tennessee, she won a national championship, made more three pointers than any other Lady Vol player in the team’s history, and was named first team All-SEC among numerous other accolades. .

But in spite of her achievements, the 21-year-old forward credits much of her basketball success to others who have helped her along the way. She insists several people are responsible for making her a better player and her love of the game is only stronger because of it. .

Growing up in Spokane Valley Washington, Bjorklund had a huge love for sports; in addition to basketball, she played soccer and volleyball throughout most of her childhood. But once her parents convinced her that she needed to make a choice, basketball seemed to be the obvious one to pursue. .

“I knew I had to choose one and there was no doubt in my mind that basketball was for me,” she says. “I enjoyed it the most and I knew how good I was at it.” .

Bjorklund’s family continued to be a major influence when her sister, Jami, started challenging her to more one-on-one games in their backyard. The sibling rivalry made her into a better player, as she started to see her own potential. .

“She never made it easy on me. She would always make do her morning workouts and she really taught me that hard work was what it was all about. From then on, I always wanted to keep getting better.” .

Eventually, Jami attended the University of Gonzaga and played there from 2005-2009. Angie, meanwhile, went on to play for one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport at Tennessee. .

Pat Summit, without question, has been a major contributor to Bjorklund’s on court success. Even though Summit is known for her tough teaching, Bjorklund loved all the challenges her former coach gave her because she knew it was going to benefit her game in the long run. .

“She pushed me to the limit every single practice,” Bjorklund says. “She gets the best out of you no matter what and there were always very high expectations for the team. But I absolutely loved that and that’s why coach Summitt is one of the very best.” .

Since joining the team in April, Bjorklund’s time with the Chicago Sky has been short. Yet, the knowledge she has received from several of her new teammates throughout the early practice sessions in training camp has become very valuable for her. Veteran players, such as Sylvia Fowles and Dominique Canty, have helped Bjorklund in many of the team drills and made her more conscientious of mistakes.v “There is so much more composure and organization on the court when they are there,” she says. “There are times where I am hyper and have a lot of energy on the court. But whenever I can improve on something, they take me aside and help me out with a lot different things.” .

Bjorklund has benefited nicely from all this support. She acknowledges other people as a big part of some of her accomplishments and not many athletes are able to do this. As she moves forward, the focus on helping her team win is more apparent than ever. .

“You are working with the top athletes in this league and everyone is good,” she says. “But my goal is to help this team get to the playoffs and win a championship.” .