(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA — First-year Lady Griz basketball coach Brian Holsinger and his staff have signed four prep players to National Letters of Intent.
Mack Konig (Milton, Ontario), Alex Pirog (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Libby Stump (Ferndale, Wash.) and Draya Wacker (Melstone, Mont.) all will be freshmen next fall for the Montana women’s basketball team.
Holsinger was hired in April and by early June had his staff of assistant coaches, Jordan Sullivan, Nate Harris and Joslyn Tinkle, in place.
“When I got here, we got right on the recruiting trail and it has paid off in a big way,” said Holsinger. “I am beyond excited about this recruiting class.”
Konig, Stump and Wacker all are guards in the 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 range. Pirog is a 6-foot-3 forward.
“First, these young women are first-class people with the highest integrity and character you can find,” said Holsinger. “I am thrilled we got three dynamic and talented guards, and a post player who has so much ability to make us better. All of them are as good of teammates as you will find and will help continue to build the culture of Lady Griz Basketball.”
Wacker will go down as Holsinger’s first in-state recruit and the first Lady Griz to come from Melstone, which becomes the 45th city or town in the state to be represented in the Montana program.
“The ultimate reason I chose to be a Lady Griz is the family atmosphere. Coming from a very small town, a family atmosphere is something I have grown up with and couldn’t imagine being without it,” Wacker said. “Being a Montana kid, the Lady Griz were my idols growing up and I always dreamt of being one, so to finally have achieved that feels great.
“The city of Missoula has a lot of pride in its college and that is what sealed the deal for me. There isn't a school in the nation that takes more pride in its women's basketball than Montana.”
Wacker has been playing on Melstone High’s varsity team since she was in eighth grade and will go into her senior year with 1,759 career points. She has four times been voted all-state.
She led the Broncs to the 2020 Class C state tournament, their first appearance at state since 1977, by scoring 44 points in the district championship game.
She suffered a season-ending injury last January near the end of her junior year. At the time of the injury, she was leading the state, both girls and boys, in scoring at 25.1 points per game.
“Draya has a feel for the game that is unique,” said Holsinger. “You watch her and she immediately stands out with her ability to score. She can shoot it and can get to the rim as well with the best of them. Her toughness and mindset are something you look for all the time.”
Konig played her first three years at Henry M. Jackson High in Mill Creek, Wash., before moving to Ontario prior to her senior year.
She was second-team All-Wesco as a freshman, first-team as a sophomore when she averaged 25.4 points and scored a school-record 47 against Kamiak.
After the season she was voted the Snohomish County Basketball Officials Association Player of the Year.
“I chose the University of Montana because I believe that Coach Holsinger and his staff have a plan to help me achieve my goals at the next level. I was looking for a place that would push me to grow and improve as a player and a person,” Konig said. “I know without a doubt I will be able to do that at Montana because of their own goals for their program. I want to be part of a legacy that puts Montana at the top of the Big Sky Conference. I am looking forward to being a Lady Griz.”
Konig is the younger sister of Aislinn “Ace” Konig, who was the MVP of the 2020 ACC Tournament as a senior at North Carolina State. She scored 1,213 points for the Wolfpack and hit 294 3-pointers, a total that ranks second in program history.
Mack Konig, whose dad is Austrian, played for that country’s national team in August 2019 at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship in Bulgaria.
She is currently No. 100 on ESPN’s national ranking of prep players in the Class of 2022.
“Mack is the kind of guard that does it all. She will impact us on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball,” said Holsinger. “Her ability to disrupt on defense is special. She can knock down the three and also knows how to make others around her better.”
Stump is the class’s third guard and a product of the Lynden Christian program that has won 13 state titles and blessed the Lady Griz with 1,270-point scorer Kenzie De Boer.
“After meeting the amazing people at the University of Montana, touring the beautiful campus and being around the legacy that the Lady Griz represents made my decision one of the easiest choices of my life,” Stump said. “Getting to know the coaches and players, I knew that these were my kind of people. Right away I could see myself playing at Montana for the next four years. To say I am excited to go to school and play basketball for the Lady Griz would be an understatement.”
Stump was a sophomore on the Lyncs’ most recent state title team, in 2020. She scored a team-high 12 points in the title game as Lynden Christian rallied to defeat top-ranked and undefeated Cashmere in the 1A championship game.
Stump was named honorable-mention all-state by Scorebook Live as a junior.
“You have to guard Libby. She can really shoot the three and she also makes such good decisions. She played at a really high level and was efficient and effective against the best players in the country,” said Holsinger. “She has the unique ability to hit the mid-range jumper as well as I have seen. She also always seems be in the right place at the right time.”
Pirog is a senior at Highlands Ranch High. She’ll be just the fourth-ever Lady Griz from Colorado but the second in two seasons, joining current freshman Haley Huard, who also is from Highlands Ranch.
“I chose to sign with Montana because the culture of the Lady Griz program is unlike any other program. It’s something special,” Pirog said. “The staff and team were so welcoming and I was excited by Coach Holsinger’s vision for the team. The atmosphere on campus is great and campus itself is gorgeous. Being from Colorado, the mountains and outdoorsy aspects of Missoula really felt like home.”
Pirog, a team captain, was named second-team All-Continental League as a sophomore, first-team as a junior, in addition to earning honorable-mention Class 5A all-state honors.
”Alex has everything you want in a post player. She defends with physicality and position at an elite level already, and her ability to run the floor and finish with either hand is really, really good,” said Holsinger. “She rebounds with energy and will go get the ball outside her area, which is a skill that is so hard to find.”