GREAT FALLS -- Saturday night against Carroll College, the Providence Argo men’s basketball team found itself in a halftime hole. But Providence turned a seven-point deficit into an eight-point win – thanks mainly to the steady hand and hot shooting of senior point guard Brandon Cotton.
“Brandon Cotton really stepped up,” said head coach Steve Keller. “He had 25 points and he hit five 3s the first half, which kept us in the game. He stepped up and that’s what a senior should do.”
Cotton has emerged as the top guard on arguably the top team in the Frontier Conference. He’s shown this year he’s not just a gunner - recording more assists and fewer turnovers than he did as a junior, his first year with the program.
“That’s probably my main focus right now that I’m trying to get better at, is seeing the whole court,” Cotton explained. “I’m just trying to get everybody involved, because once you get everybody involved the chemistry gets contagious. The energy becomes better. Coach K has been on me since I stepped onto the court, I got to be a better passer and a better leader, so that’s what I’m trying to do every single day.”
Cotton follows in the footsteps of some other star guards who played under Keller. Just like Cotton – former Montana Western stars Dom Robinson and Brandon Brown were both lightly recruited out of Tacoma, Washington and both under 6-foot. Both went on to All-American careers and earned Frontier Conference MVP honors.
And it’s no coincidence that Keller found another star guard from Tacoma. Brown and Robinson were the ones who gave the recruiting pitch to Cotton. After two years at Lower Columbia College the two former stars convinced Cotton to give Montana, and Keller, a chance.
“Coach Keller called me one day, and he had a few players from my area in Tacoma that kind of convinced me to consider Providence,” Cotton said. “They told me it might be the best option to come here.”
Cotton is averaging 15.2 points per game for the No. 8-ranked Argos. So it’s safe to say the move has paid off for both Cotton and the Argos.
“I’ve just learned those little guys have much bigger hearts and they perform just as well as the big guys,” Keller said. “We just have that little pipeline going from Tacoma. Brandon Brown called Dom, and then Brandon Brown and Dom called Brandon Cotton and that’s how we get them. We will continue to work that area and try to find that type of point guard. They’re winners.”
The Argos (18-2 overall, 6-2 Frontier Conference) return to the court Friday to face Montana Tech (13-6, 5-3) at 7:30 p.m.