Western men’s basketball signs six recruits

Western men’s basketball signs six recruits

DILLON — Montana Western men’s basketball head coach Mike Larsen has signed six recruits for the 2018-19 season, the school announced Thursday.

Just a few months into his tenure as head basketball coach at Montana Western, Mike Larsen has hit the recruiting trail running. He has signed six to play this next season. The 2018-19 recruiting class consists of local talent from the treasure state, mixing high school talent with transfers from both junior college and division one schools.

Committing to Larsen and the Bulldogs are Cole Baker, Cedric Boone, Darrien Garcia, Carter Kearns, Jay Payne, and Jeremiah Warner.

“We are extremely excited about our recruiting class this year at Montana Western.” Larsen said. “We have added quality players with great character that we believe will complement the existing returners.”

The incoming class, filled with All-State selections, provides scoring depth as well as championship experience.

Baker is a 6-foot-2 guard from Missoula and a 2013 graduate of Missoula Big Sky High School. He will come to Montana Western as a senior.

He played one season with the Wenatchee Valley College Knights in 2015-16 where he appeared in 24 games. He shot 49 percent from the field and averaged 6.1 points and 2 rebounds a game. In high school Baker averaged 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.

As a senior, Baker led the state in steals with three per game and was named First-Team All-State. He is the son of Jeff and Roberta Baker. Roberta played basketball for Montana Western and was on the rodeo team in 1987-89. Baker plans on majoring in business management.

Boone is a 6-1 guard from Minnetonka, Minnesota and a 2016 graduate of Minnetonka High School. He played the last two seasons at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D. where he played in 51 games, averaging 21 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

He shoots 44 percent from the floor and 38 percent from beyond the arc. He is a two-time First-Team Mon-Dak All-Conference selection.

Kearns is a 6-4 guard from Hamilton and 2018 graduate of Hamilton High School. He averaged 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 2.6 assist a game in high school. He shot 60 percent from the three-point line, 40 percent from the floor, and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Kearns is a two-time All-State Class A selection and helped lead the Broncs to a third-place finish in the state tournament. He is the son of Joni Zinkovich and Kurt Kearns and plans on majoring in business.

Garcia is a 5-10 guard from Choteau and a 2017 graduate of Choteau High School. Garcia is transferring from Montana State University where he redshirted last season. In high school he lead Choteau to two state championships while averaging 27 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game, and shooting 48 percent from the floor his senior year.

He is the son of Jodi Thompson and Edgar Garcia and plans to major in health and human performance.

Payne is a 6-7 forward from West Haven, Utah, and a 2016 graduate of Roy High School. Jay spent the 2017-18 season playing for the North Iowa Area Community College Trojans where he played in 30 games and averaged 10.4 points a game. He shot 45 percent from the floor and 30 percent from beyond the arc. He shot 64.6 percent from the charity stripe and pulled down 8 rebounds a game.

Payne was named to the All-Conference Team and made the Dean’s List. He spent the 2016-17 season at Western Wyoming Community College where he saw limited playing time appearing in just 13 games despite shooting 52 percent from the floor. In High School he was First-Team All-Region and was named to the All-Area Team. He is the son to Alan and Sandy Payne and plans on majoring in business marketing.

Warner, is a 6-2 guard from Billings and a 2018 graduate of Skyview High School. He was Co-Captain of the Falcons and averaged 16.5 points a game his senior season. He helped lead the Falcons to a third place finish in Class AA in 2017. He is the son of John and Sheela Warner and plans to major in health and human performance.

“We have hit the ground running to establish the best team possible to ensure a continued tradition of success for Montana Western men’s basketball.” Larsen said.

The Bulldogs will open the 2018-19 season on Oct. 27 at home against Salish Kootenai College.

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