Jalen Coates says he’s leaving Montana Tech

Montana Tech's Jalen Coates goes up for a basket as Montana Western's Demitrius Balark (1) and Shyke Smalls (0) defend Feb. 20 at the HPER Complex. (ButteSports file photo)

Montana Tech’s men’s basketball team is losing its leading scorer.

Sophomore Jalen Coates announced on his Twitter page that he is leaving the program. The move comes two weeks after the school announced that it will not renew the contract of third-year head coach Patrick O’Herron.

Coates, who is from Sacramento, California, averaged 18.9 points per game, which led the team and ranked No. 2 in the Frontier Conference. He was particularly potent for the Orediggers in the final month of the season. That’s when he was moved from point guard to shooting guard because of an injury by teammate Cruz Ginns Jr.

Coates, who led the Frontier with 2.0 steals per game, scored a season-high 30 points Feb. 18 against Rocky Mountain College. Two nights later he tossed in 29 against Montana Western. That led to Coates being named Frontier Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 22.

Coates scored at least 20 points in 15 of the 30 games he played as an Oredigger.

Before transferring to Tech, Coates played one season at Yuba Community College in Linda, California. He did not announce a destination, only saying that he intends to transfer to an NCAA school.

KXLF-TV was the first to report Coates’ departure from Montana Tech.

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