BILLINGS — Lewistown’s Jaden Graham wraps up his Montana high school basketball career with this weekend’s Montana-Wyoming All-Star basketball series. Then, he’s off to Northern State, where there are some question marks after head coach Paul Sauther recently moved on to the University of North Dakota.
“He sent the whole team, existing players and incomers, a big text on how he loved us and he wanted us to still fulfill his dream and his goal,” Graham said. “But, obviously, it was a great opportunity for him and his family, but I’m kind of clueless as to what’s going on over there.
Sather built a perennial contender at Northern State, as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) titles and a runner-up finish at the Division II National Tournament in 2018. Sather also won back-to-back NSIC coach of the year awards. He racked up an impressive 188-89 record in nine seasons.
The success of the program that Sather built was enough to entice Graham to stick around. The fact that Northern State will attract one of the nation’s best coaches helps, too.
“That they’ve had great tradition,” Graham said of why he intends on sticking to his commitment. “They’re one of the biggest powerhouses in Division II and that they win. I know a winning program is going to hire a great coach to take the reins.”
On Sunday, Graham will shift his focus to Northern State, where he plans on being within the month.
“Us and the guys, we talk every day. I’m still going to go over. I’m ready to go and stuff. They’ll get the incoming coach and I’ll see him before the month is over. Then I’ll fit out and go from there, but as of now I’m ready to go.”
The Montana-Wyoming All-Star basketball series tips off Friday in Billings at Alterowitz Gym on the campus of MSU Billings with the girls game at 5:30. The games were scheduled to be played at Rocky Mountain College, but due to water damage the game has been moved. Saturday’s games will be in Sheridan for the first time after Wyoming requested to host Saturday night’s games every other year.