A dream come true: Josh Huestis Foundation hosts first Montana Elite Invitational

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Posted at 8:48 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-30 23:09:07-04

HELENA — Former Great Falls CMR star and ex-NBA player Josh Huestis made it to Helena last weekend as his foundation put on the first Montana Elite Invitational basketball camp.

Huestis led the Rustlers to back-to-back Class AA boys basketball state championships in 2009 and 2010, but that was just the beginning his legacy. Huestis went on to star at Stanford, then was a first-round pick in the NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder, with whom he played in three season.

Huestis spoke to MTN Sports about growing up in Montana: “It instilled in me a certain attitude, a work ethic, a toughness that I think without it, I would have not had a chance to make it as far as I did. Great Falls is a blue-collar town and it gave me the skills that I needed to push myself through difficult times, to push myself through challenges and I had this entire state rally behind me during my career too.

"Just having the support of an entire state, hardly any people ever really get that, right? No matter what level they get to, they never really get that, so, Montana is a special place.”

The innovative Montana Elite Invitational is a new event for in-state college prospects to showcase their skills in front of a variety of coaches and scouts both in person and through live stream.

Huestis himself competed outside Montana in renowned AAU circles, which was a crucial piece to his overall success. But doing so was not a low-cost venture. Camps such as the MEI are designed to familiarize talented, local athletes and help to aid in exposing upcoming recruits to collegiate-level coaches.

Montana’s rural landscape makes travel expensive and time-consuming. Between the years of 2014-2017, only 0.3% of Montana’s high school boys basketball players were recruited by Division I programs. In comparison, 5.2% of boys basketball athletes in Maryland found themselves recruited by Division I schools.

Huestis' hope is to expose more Montana players to a wider audience.

“Montana athletes are special, and they deserve to have the recognition that, hopefully this can bring to them,” Huestis said. “To be able to come back and not only put this on, but to live here again, is a dream come true.”