West's Betcher attracting Division I attention

2014-07-09T14:46:00Z 2014-07-09T15:26:04Z West's Betcher attracting Division I attention The Billings Gazette

It’s hard to make sense of the NCAA recruiting rules, but basketball coaches are entering into the first of three “evaluation periods” in July.

The first evaluation period is a five-day stretch beginning Wednesday afternoon. Tres Tinkle of Missoula Hellgate, Jared Samuelson of Billings West and Kendal Manuel of Billings Skyview are hoping to catch the attention of more Division I coaches during that time, as we’ve already chronicled.

Another West standout, Danny Betcher, is hoping to build off of earlier contact with the programs at Austin Peay (Tennessee), Portland State, Purdue, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Washington State.

“I just want to keep working hard,” the senior-to-be said. “I’m hoping that colleges will be interested; I’ll do everything I can to make it that way. I’m hoping to have an offer or two on the table by (high school) basketball.”

Betcher plays on the Montana Hoops AAU team, which includes athletes from around the state. Other players on the team are Tyler Thompson of Laurel, Adam Huse of Bozeman, Henry Garrett of Helena, Mark Lebsock of Hellgate and Matt Wyman and Lukas Vining of Great Falls.

Betcher said the team, which is coached by former Montana State coach Brad Huse, lost in the semifinals of a tournament in April. They’re playing in the Northwest Premier Showcase this weekend in Seattle and then will play in the Fab 48 in Las Vegas.

“We’re not a huge team, so I’ll be playing the 4 quite a bit,” Betcher said. “That requires a lot of banging in the post. From time to time, I’ll be playing the 3. I feel like I can do both fairly well.”

At nearly 6-foot-8, Betcher can create matchup problems with his length and athleticism. He considers himself a “slasher” who likes to catch on the perimeter and attack the basket off the dribble. He’s tall enough, though, to take smaller defenders into the post.

But Betcher — like Tinkle, Samuelson and Manuel — knows that he can make his biggest impression on the defensive end, especially against the better competition players consistently see on the AAU circuit.

“The main thing is a lot of these guys are pretty big,” Betcher said. “I feel like I need to keep working in the weight room to put on some size. That would really benefit me against bigger guys out of state.

“It’s really important to show that you can play defense. Anybody can improve their defense, so I’ll definitely be working on that a lot this summer.”

Tinkle update

In June, we said that Tinkle had climbed into ESPN’s list of the top 50 basketball recruits in the country. He subsequently received invites to the NBPA Top 100 camp and the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.

Following consistent performances there, Tinkle earned an invite to this week’s LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.

Here’s how he’s been spending his summer:

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