MISSOULA — A pair of outstanding players, one from the junior college and one from the high school ranks, have signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball at the University of Montana, head basketball coach Travis DeCuire announced today.
The Grizzlies two new additions are Bobby Moorehead from Stadium High School in Tacoma, Wash., and Walter Wright from Snow College, located in Ephraim, Utah.
A 6-foot-6 wing, Moorehead averaged 26.5 points and 11.0 rebounds a game for the Tigers as a senior. He was also named the 4A Narrows League MVP, honorable mention all-state by the Associated Press, and WIBCA all-state following his senior season.
“Bobby creates depth for us at that position, with Brandon (Gfeller) and Jermaine (Edmonds Jr.), as guys who shot the ball well from distance and could score out of our offense,” said DeCuire via a telephone interview, as he is in Spokane to attend a UM Alumni function today. “I think Bobby, as he develops in the years to come, will be someone who could become a great scorer for us
“He’s (Moorehead) not just a shooter, but he can also put the ball on the floor,” DeCuire continued. He’s got good length and finishes around the basket. He scored a lot of points in a very strong league, and he was the Narrows League player of the year. We hope that he can bring the same things for us in the Big Sky that he brought to his team in the Narrows League.”
As a senior Moorehead was also tabbed first team all-area, all-city, and all-Western Washington. He was a first team all-league pick as a junior, when he averaged 26.0 points a game. His prep coach at Stadium High School was David Jones.
Wright, a 5-10 point guard, was recently named an honorable mention All-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Wright, who will be a junior at UM, averaged 21.8 points and 6.0 assists per game for the Badgers, who finished 18-14 and lost to eventual league champion College of Southern Idaho in the second round of the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament. He was named to the All-Region 18 first team pick as a sophomore and a freshman.
“Walter is an explosive scorer at the national level, junior college-wise,” DeCuire said. “He’s going to be a good bonus for us losing Jordan (Gregory). He’s also a great play-maker He will take some pressure off of Mario (Dunn) in regards to being a guy who can get us into offense and create offense for other people. And he will release some stress from Martin (Breunig) in terms of his ability to score the ball. And we will have another guy, as we develop the rest of our team, I think we’ll have some more depth offensively.
“He’s (Wright) always been a guy that’s had the ball in his hands and he’s always played the point,” DeCuire said. “But, he’s been a scorer – he can really score the ball. So for us, I believe our system is stronger when you have more than one ball-handler on the floor. The success that I’ve been a part of at Old Dominion and at Cal, the better years we had we had two point guards in the starting line-up, so we’re kind of looking at maybe going in that direction.”
From Wilby High School in Waterbury, Conn., Wright also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as a sophomore. His freshman year he averaged 17 points and 4.8 assists per game. He set an all-time Snow College record for head coach Bob Nielson when he scored 49 points in a 96-89 win over Sheridan College (Wyo.) last season.
The Grizzlies two newest signees will join guard Michael Oguine (Oh-ken-EE) from Chaminade High School in Los Angeles, and forward Jared Samuelson from Billings West High School in Montana, who signed early NLIs in November of 2014.
A 6-1, 175-pound guard, Oguine scored 30 or more points in five games as a senior, including a career-high 45 in a win against Village Christian. He averaged 21.3 points a game to go along with 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.9 steals, as the Eagles (22-11) advanced to the semifinals of the Southern California Division IV regional tournament. As a junior he was a key member of the Eagles’ California Division 3 State championship team that had an overall record of 27-6. He carries a 3.3 GPA.
A 6-7, 215-pound forward, Samuelson led the Golden Bears in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. He helped Billings West, which went 19-4 this past season, to a second place finish in the state AA tournament. He was named to the all-state team, and was a first team all-conference pick, and selected to play in the Montana-Wyoming All-Star Series. As a junior he averaged 17.9 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Golden Bears.
“We are definitely excited about these four guys,” DeCuire said. “We recruited character. We recruited hard workers. We recruited guys who want to win, and understand how much of a team effort it is. But they all bring their own individual talents, which makes a good team. We were definitely happy in November with the two we signed early.
“I would expect all four guys to get an opportunity to contribute right away,” he said. “That’s what we want. We need a very competitive environment to the team and the program that we want to become.”
When asked it these four signees complete his initial recruiting class, he said, “there’s potential for one more. It’s got to be the right guy. We only have one senior (Breunig), so we’re only looking at one scholarship in 2016. Our next two guys are going to be important for us down the road; whether it’s someone who can help right away, or guys we can develop. That is to be determined.
“We’ve got some guys we are recruiting for our 2016 class and we are excited about them, but we only have one scholarship,” he said. “There’s a chance we could hold off, and bring two kids in to the next class and kind of balance out our class. Right now we’ve got far too many kids (six players) in our junior class. At some point we’re going to have to level that off so that we don’t have too many kids graduate at one time. Unfortunately we’re going to have to face that in 2017. If we get the right kid in front of us we’ll take him.”
— Montana Sports Information