Montana Tech head men’s basketball coach Adam Hiatt announced today the addition of three commitments to the Oredigger basketball program. Blake Dittman and Connor Dowdy are transferring to Montana Tech from junior colleges and Luke Peynenborg comes in as a freshman.
Dittman, a 6-foot-4 forward, played at Big Bend Community College the last two seasons. Dittman scored in double-figures 18 out of 26 games last season, averaging 14.6 points a contest. He broke the 20-point mark seven times including a season high of 33 against Tacoma. Dittman shot 50.3 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc, hitting at least two three-pointers in 15 games.
“We believe that Blake Dittman is a diamond in the rough,” Hiatt said. “The jump that he made from his freshman to sophomore years at Big Bend was incredible. We are convinced he has only scratched the surface in reaching his potential.”
Dittman also averaged 5.6 rebounds and two assists a game with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was Big Bend’s best defender regularly defending power forwards down to point guards.
“Blake has a very good skillset, in terms of his ability to shoot, pass and drive, but also has a blue-collar approach to the game that makes him a very productive two-way player,” Hiatt said. “We expect big things from Blake, and will count on his toughness and maturity to elevate our program.”
Originally from Boise, Dittman graduated from Capital High School. He helped lead his team to a perfect 27-0 record and a class 5A state championship. Dittman plans on pursuing a degree in business and information technology.
Dowdy returns to Montana after a two-year stint at Wenatchee Valley College. The 2016 Helena Capital graduate led class AA in shooting with a 68.2 field goal percentage and averaged 2.2 blocked shots a game for the Bruins.
“Connor Dowdy is an extremely athletic and multi-dimensional forward,” Hiatt said. “He was well coached in high school and made significant improvement this past season for Coach Harden at WVC. We expect him to make an immediate impact on the defensive end with his ability to defend multiple positions and protect the rim.”
Dowdy averaged 12.9 point, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks at Wenatchee. The 6-foot-7 forward broke the 20-point mark six times while scoring in double figures 16 times. Dowdy had a season high 33 points against Blue Mountain College and collected four double-doubles. He posted at least two blocked shots in 16 different games.
“Offensively, he can shoot from the perimeter, drive good matchups, and score around and above the rim. He brings an athletic presence to our roster that will benefit us on both ends of the floor.”
Dowdy plans on pursuing a degree in accounting.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Luke Peynenborg brings size and a vast international background.
“We are excited to have Luke Peynenborg join our basketball program and campus community,” Hiatt said. “He will bring a wealth of international playing experience to our team and a bright mind to our Engineering department.”
Peynenborg, a 6-foot-7 forward, is currently in his third season for the McKinnon Cougars, playing in the Big V (23U) Victorian Youth Championship. He is averaging 14 points and 7.1 rebounds a game while shooting 58 percent from the floor. Peynenborg was named the 2017 Big V Most Improved Player.
“Luke is one of the most refined young offensive talents that we have seen,” Hiatt said. “He has exceptional hands and feet and a soft touch around the rim. He has a high basketball IQ and plays with a grit and toughness that matches our program’s identity. We look forward to Luke developing his game and reaching his potential as a Digger.”
Peynenborg also played for the Victorian 18U School Team in the Australia School National Championship. He hold the fourth highest field goal percentage in club history for Global Squad AAU team making 58 percent of his shots.
The three forwards join Troy Owens Jr., Nate Ward and Connor Kieckbusch as new additions to the Oredigger basketball program. The Diggers return ten players from last season.
— Montana Tech