The Oredigger men are preparing to hunt Bears
The Montana Tech men will start this Frontier Conference regular season as the #18 team in the country. The last coach’s poll was released on November 16th, since then the Diggs have gone 3-1, with their only loss coming to the #1 team in the country, the Firestorm of Arizona Christian, where they fell 84-80.
There is great energy right now in the Montana Tech men’s basketball program as the Orediggers are coming off a historic season with a ton of momentum. The Diggs did graduate a group of outstanding players, guys that are the foundation of Coach Hiatt’s program. But this year you will see some very familiar faces, and some new guys mixed in as well.
The returners are led by Junior Caleb Bellach.
In his first year as a Digger, Bellach averaged 15 points a game last year, shooting 44% from the floor, and 40% from the 3-point line. Belly played an average of 31 minutes a game last season. Keeley Bake will run the point when he is on the floor, so far this season his minutes are about the same (19 min. a game) but his shooting percentage has jumped up, hitting 45% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc. You will see Hellgate product, Camdyn Larance with more playing time this year. Larance had a really strong NAIA National tournament in Texas, which I feel has propelled him into this season as ‘The Defender’. I think that mantle was passed from Derrius Collins to Camdyn, and I’m excited to watch it.
Two returners I want you to be ready for are Michael Ure, and Hayden Diekhans. Michael played quite a bit last year (10 min. a game) and played hard, and Hayden didn’t get much floor time. Both are now over 20 minutes a game. Ure is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds a game, and Diekhans is getting 9 points a game to this point.
That brings us to the ‘new guys’ that have made an immediate splash. Asa Williams and Chrishon Dixon. Asa comes to Tech from Chandler-Gilbert CC (Arizona). The Junior has stepped right in and rolled, averaging 11 points a game, and shooting 45% from the floor and the arc. Chrishon Dixon comes to the mining city via Pima CC (Arizona), Dixon who is a Billings native, was the Oredigers #1 recruiting target in the offseason. Dixon is averaging 9 points a game and has a fantastic Assist/turnover margin to start the season.
Coach Hiatt told me he is very happy with the connection, as a unit, this team has made in the preseason, everyone is about the team, not the individual.
The other thing he emphasized to me was the bench depth, the fact that they can go 9-10 guys deep with no drop-off, and that this is a “Fun, fast and competitive team”.
The men will take to the HPER floor for their first conference game Thursday night at 7pm. Between you and I, this is a team you are going to want to watch.
My thanks to the man, the myth, the LEGEND Jon Wick at 5518 Designs for the use of his photos.