(Editor's note: While we're faced with a sports-less world during the coronavirus pandemic, MTN Sports is going to re-publish the original stories from the #MTTop50, which launched in 2016 to profile some of the great boys basketball players in Montana history. Our intention is not to revise history, so we're not going to change the order in which the players were featured. However, some articles will include updates to reflect the latest developments in a player's career. This story was originally published on July 21, 2016.)
MTN Sports began its look at some of the best players from the 1960s and earlier with two versatile scorers. Mike Welton is still the all-time leading scorer at Billings West, and Willie Weeks helped Wolf Point win a Big 32 championship with his inside-out game.
The #MTTop50 moved to the interior with Jack O’Connor, who starred at Baker and then set the scoring and rebounding career records at the College of Great Falls (now the University of Providence). We stay in the post with the next addition – Fairfield’s Kermit Young.
Kermit Young stat sheet
Young was an all-around athlete at Fairfield in the late 1950s and into the early ‘60s. He excelled in football, basketball and track and field, winning state titles in the shot put and discus and setting the state record in the discus. On the hardwood, he was an all-state center for the Eagles, helping lead the team to the 1959 state championship. Young followed his Fairfield career with a stellar career at Montana State, where he is one of only two players in Bobcat history to average a double-double for his career (19 points and 10 rebounds per game). As a three-year starter, he earned all-conference honors in both 1964 and ’65, and was named one of the 10 best players in the western United States. Young ranks ninth in program history for career points scored, eighth in career field goals, fourth in career rebounds and fourth in career free throws. When Young was inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame in 2001, former Bobcats coach Roger Craft said Young was the only defender to hold Utah State star and Anaconda native Wayne Estes below double-figure scoring during the 1963 season. After his playing days, Young entered the coaching ranks, spending time at all levels, including stints as an assistant coach at both the University of Pacific and the University of Nevada.
… on Young:
Former Montana State coach Roger Craft: “One of the things (that stands out) is his determination to get things done. That was probably the biggest thing. He could score mid-range, he could drive and he was an excellent rebounder. So he was always on the boards putting shots back in. We used him some when we were in a delay game like the old North Carolina teams. We put him in the middle and he would just move and get himself open and hit the open man all the time. He had the ability to (see) the court and see people. He did a good job that way. … Offensively, he did very well. He controlled the ball very well. He rebounded and was definitely one of the best basketball players I had with Montana State. Of course, he is in the Hall of Fame now.”