Big Sky schools showing interest in Betcher, Samuelson, Manuel

2014-08-01T17:31:00Z 2014-08-01T23:48:03Z Big Sky schools showing interest in Betcher, Samuelson, Manuel The Billings Gazette

The spring and summer AAU circuit can eventually start to wear on athletes.

Jared Samuelson, Kendal Manuel and the rest of their Anthony Davis Select team, which included Missoula Hellgate’s Tres Tinkle, were on the road for much of July, traveling to Seattle, Anaheim and Las Vegas on consecutive weekends for tournaments.

The hope for the players is that the summer exposure will lead to more interest from college programs around the state. If the goal is to play Division I basketball, getting in front of as many coaches as possible this summer was a necessity.

Manuel is still waiting for his first scholarship offer from a D-I program, but plenty of schools have shown interest, according to the Billings Skyview senior-to-be.

Manuel said he’s received interest from Air Force, Army, Boise State, Denver, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Oregon State and Sacramento State, as well as from Division II programs Alaska Anchorage and Northwest Nazarene (Idaho) and Division III Willamette (Ore.).

Montana State Billings and Mary (N.D.) have already extended offers.

“They just keep telling me to keep developing my ball handling and keep developing my strength and stuff,” said the 16-year-old Manuel. “They realize that I’m young, so that’s going to help me with higher recruiting offers from the D-I level. I’m just going to keep doing what I do best, and hopefully it all pans out.”

Samuelson earned his first Division I scholarship offer this summer when he was offered by new Montana coach Travis DeCuire. DeCuire’s Grizzlies’ playing career overlapped with that of Samuelson’s dad, Shawn.

Jared Samuelson, who will be a senior at Billings West this fall, also has an offer from MSU Billings to go along with interest from Air Force, Boise State, Columbia (N.Y.) Denver, Idaho, Lehigh (Penn.), Mary, Montana State, Pacific (Calif.), Portland (Ore.), Santa Clara (Calif.), Seattle, Washington State and Wyoming.

(Update: Seattle and Black Hills (S.D.) State extended scholarship offers to Samuelson on Friday.)

“Right now, I’m just open to anywhere,” Samuelson said. “I don’t have one school that’s over another. I’m getting recruited by a few different schools. I’m looking to sign in the fall. I don’t want to worry about my college and my future during my last year of high school. I kind of want to relax and settle down and focus on high school while I have it.”

While Samuelson and Manuel were playing for Anthony Davis Select, Danny Betcher was playing with the Montana Hoops team alongside seven other Montana players.

Laurel’s Tyler Thompson, Hellgate’s Mark Lebsock, Helena’s Henry Garrett, Great Falls’ Lukas Vining and Matt Wyman, and Bozeman’s Adam Huse and Jesse Meade rounded out the roster. Former Montana State men’s basketball coach Brad Huse coached the team.

Betcher, an upcoming senior at West, has drawn interest from a smattering of schools, including Austin Peay, Portland State, Purdue, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Washington State, as well as smaller universities Black Hills (S.D.) State, Carroll College, Minot (N.D.) State and MSU Billings.

“I’ll be looking at schools where I want to get a degree, a good educational program there,” Betcher said, “as well as a good basketball program and just see where I can best fit in.”

Aug. 1 through Sept. 8 is a quiet period on the recruiting calendar, meaning coaches can’t watch athletes compete. Coaches can still contact players, though, and set up visits to their campuses.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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