Grizzlies sign JC forward

MISSOULA — John “Chris” Kemp has signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate basketball at the University of Montana, announced eighth-year Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle today.

Kemp is a 6-7, 238-pound power forward from West Texas College, a junior college located in Snyder, Texas.  Kemp, who is originally from Baltimore, Maryland (Archbishop Spalding High School),  will be a junior eligibility-wise at Montana.

“Chris is a very, very explosive post player and extremely strong around the basket,” said Tinkle, who has guided UM to a school-record three NCAA berths during his tenure.  “He has the potential to be a dominating defender and rebounder – areas which we really need to improve upon in the post.

“We’re thrilled that he is a Grizzly, and look forward to everything that he will bring to our program, both as A student and as an athlete, both of which are priorities for us, “ Tinkle said.

Last season Kemp, who played limited minutes because of a rotating player substitution system on his team, averaged 7.2 points, and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds a game, while shooting 48% from the field.

Kemp is also an outstanding student who was on the Dean’s List for the fall semester and maintains a 3.8 GPA, and he was recently named his school’s most outstanding history student.

“Chris is a strong and athletic forward who can face up and attack the rim,” said UM assistant coach Freddie Owens.  “He is a good passer as well.  He plays with tons of energy and effort at both ends of the floor.”

Montana returns three starters from a 25-7 team that won the Big Sky Conference regular-season title with a record-setting mark of 19-1, and then hosted and won the league’s post-season tournament, advancing to the NCAAs for the second straight year.

The Grizzlies signed two prep players last November to NLIs in the early signing period.  Those two players are Mario Dunn Jr., a 6-0 point guard from Salesian High School in Richmond, Calif., and 6-4 two-guard Brandon Gfeller (pronounced: gee-feller) from Colfax High School in Washington.

Dunn has been a four-year starter for the Pride, and his team (Salesian does not keep individual stats) went 30-4 last season.  Gfeller was named Washington’s 2B “Player of the Year” as a senior, and averaged more than 20 points a game for the state runners-up Bulldogs.

— UM Sports Information

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