(Editor’s note: Montana Western media release)
DILLON – Montana Western men’s basketball head coach Mike Larsen has signed six recruits for the 2018-19 season.
Just a few months into his tenure as head basketball coach at Montana Western, Larsen has hit the recruiting trail running. 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 I 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,” said Larsen. “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.
Cole 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 two rebounds a game. In high school Baker averaged 12 points, five assists, and four rebounds per game. As a senior he 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.
Cedric Boone is a 6-1 guard from Minnetonka, Minn. 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.
Carter 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 per game in high school. He shot 60 percent from the 3-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 at the state tournament. He is the son of Joni Zinkovich and Kurt Kearns and plans on majoring in business.
Darrien 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 was on two Class B state championship teams and averaged 27 points, five rebounds and four 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.
Jaycob Payne is a 6-7 forward from West Haven, Utah and a 2016 graduate of Roy High School. Payne 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 eight rebounds a game. He 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.
Jeremiah 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 per 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,” said Larsen.
The Bulldogs will open the 2018-19 season on Oct. 27 at home against Salish Kootenai College.