In July, Brody Grebe found himself matched up against one of the best high school basketball players in the country.
Grebe, who last March led Melstone to a third-place finish at the Class C state tournament, was guarding Jaden McDaniels, ESPN’s fourth-ranked recruit in the country for 2019, during the Montana/Idaho Select AAU team’s summer circuit.
The Select AAU basketball team, filled with seven of the best players in Montana, found success against some of the top competition in the country during tournaments in Boise, Seattle and Las Vegas.
“I will say, our AAU team has the best players in the state,” said Manhattan Christian’s Caleb Bellach. “When I actually first got my offer, I was on the bus ride back to Boise, and (my teammates) were all with me when I got my offer. Their support was awesome, they gave hugs and high-5s. They’re super happy for me. Brody Grebe is the first friend I told. The friendships you can develop with your AAU teammates is pretty awesome.”
The Select team is loaded with future college athletes from Montana. Lewistown’s Jaden Graham has committed to play basketball at Northern State in South Dakota, Missoula Hellgate’s Rollie Worster has committed to the University of Montana and Manhattan Christian’s Caleb Bellach recently committed to Montana State. Grebe and Billings Central’s Chrishon Dixon have had offers flooding in in both football and basketball, too.
Grebe, Bellach and Dixon have formed close friendships through their time with the Select AAU team.
“(Grebe) is really tight with those guys, he’s good buddies with them,” Brody’s father, Jason, said. “Through Select, they’ve become some of the best friends. They’re always together.”
Those tight-knit friendships could be a driving force that lead the three to play together collegiately. While neither Grebe nor Dixon has received an offer from Montana State for basketball, both have received offers from the Bobcats’ football program.
However, Grebe will have several options. He is a 45-foot triple jumper, and, according to his father, also claims a football offer from Montana, a rodeo offer from Montana State, and basketball offers from Montana Tech, the University of Providence and MSU Billings, among others. Grebe averaged 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists this past season.
“I don’t think he wants it to linger,” Jason said of Brody’s commitment. “Engineering is a big thing that he wants to do, so that’s kind of limiting some of his schools. He’s really confused and I think he needs to play this out and see what coaches talk to him and what fits.”
“Football, he loves football, but he’s just been in a gym with me his whole life,” Jason added. “I think he has mixed emotions. His home is always to go back to the court. But I told him you have to do what you feel is best for you to excel, and look long term, too.”
Dixon has no shortage of options, either. He said Montana Western, College of Idaho, MSU Billings and Chaminade University in Hawaii have offered him in basketball.
“I’d love to play with at least one of them,” Dixon said of Bellach and Grebe. “Off the court they’re great guys, and on the court they’re great players, so it would be great to play with them.
Dixon led Billings Central in scoring (14.3), rebounding (6.1) and assists (6.2) during the regular season and was instrumental in the Rams’ second-place finish at the Class A state tournament.
Dixon will likely wait until after football season to pick a sport and a school, saying that being a Division I athlete will play a small role in his decision. He will ultimately look for the best fit for he and his family. Billings Central basketball coach Jim Stergar can see a bright future for Dixon on the hardwood.
“I think the Big Sky (Conference) would be a great level for him,” Stergar said. “There’s guys at that level you can’t leave. I think a lot of people are scared because he’s 5-foot-10, but he’s got a size 14 shoe, so you never know what he’s going to do. Even if he’s 6-1, I think he could play and be really effective as a point guard in the Big Sky. Playing at MSUB for four or five years would be exciting, because I think he could be a Hall of Fame player at a level like that.”
While big decisions loom for Grebe and Dixon, they’re now turning their focus to their final high school football seasons. Grebe is a standout linebacker and quarterback at Roundup. Dixon, too, plays both ways — receiver and defensive back. Grebe is being recruited as a linebacker but has worked out for teams at tight end, too. Dixon is being recruited as both a receiver and defensive back. He is also electrifying in the return game.
Grebe is coming off a season in which he ran for 839 yards and 13 touchdowns on 139 carries, while also leading Roundup in total tackles with 109 in eight games. Dixon had 33 receptions for 492 yards and seven touchdowns last season at Billings Central.
Fall football practice begins Friday with teams taking the field for their first games as early as Aug. 23.