BUTTE — The way Brayden Koch sees it, he's spent the entirety of his life in Helena and figures that a change of scenery — or basketball court — can be a positive thing.
The 2022 Montana Gatorade player of the year — who was a critical piece of Helena Capital's State AA championship team — decided recently that he was ready to move on from Carroll College, where as a freshman he quickly evolved into the Fighting Saints' top-scoring player last season.
"I've been in Helena for 19 years of my life," said the 6-foot-2 Koch. "Maybe some new change will be good."
Koch said that the departure of Carroll head coach Kurt Paulson in June played a large part in his decision.
"I was questionable the whole summer," said Koch. "It was reeling in the back of my head what I wanted to do." Then last week, I hit up (Montana Tech head basketball coach Adam) Hiatt."
After a quick visit with the two-time defending Frontier Conference champions, Koch quickly realized that he wanted to write his next chapter with Tech, who initially tried to recruit him while he was in college before he ultimately committed to his hometown college.
And the Orediggers, who are set to return the entirety of their 2022-23 squad which is coming off the program's deepest postseason run, are hoping that this next chapter is a memorable one.
"(Koch) approached us at the beginning of last week and just expressed a desire that he was potentially looking for a better fit for him," said Hiatt. "He came down and spent some time with us last week and then at the end of the week said this is where he felt comfortable being."
Koch will sit out the 2023-24 season and will suit up next year with three years of eligibility remaining. This season will give him a chance to develop and prepare to be a key piece of Tech's future with nine players set to graduate after this season.
"A player with Brayden's caliber can step into any system and be impactful because of the talent, the skill set that he possesses," said Hiatt. "But just for him to be able to adapt to the players that are around him, because we're going to need him greatly, he's going to be a critical piece the following season. But he's going to have an opportunity to establish himself in our program from Day 1."