DILLON — First year Montana Western men's basketball coach Mike Larsen announced the signing of six players to the Bulldogs' 2018-19 team on Tuesday, with four of the recruits coming from Montana.
"We are extremely excited about our recruiting class this year," Larsen said in a press release. "We have added quality players with great character that we believe will complement the existing returners."
Larsen will head into his first season leading Western's program following the departure of longtime head coach Steve Keller, who took the same position with the University of Providence in late March.
In Keller's final season, the Bulldogs compiled a 27-8 record while reaching the NAIA National Tournament quarterfinals for the second time in program history.
An overview of the six players:
Cole Baker (6-2, G, Missoula): A 2013 graduate of Missoula Big Sky, Baker will join Western as a senior. He logged one season of college basketball at Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Wash., where he appeared in 24 games, averaging 6.1 points and two rebounds per game. During his senior season with the Spartans, he led the state in steals per game (3) and garnered First Team All-State honors.
Carter Kearns (6-4, G, Hamilton): A Hamilton High School product, Kearns concluded his high school career averaging 18.4 point and 8.7 rebounds per contest while shooting 60 percent from 3-point range. He was twice named a Class A All-State selection.
Jeremiah Warner (6-2, G, Billings): The Billings Skyview graduate averaged 13 points per game during nine games his senior season.
Darrien Garcia (5-10, G, Choteau): The 2017 Choteau High graduate will be transferring to Western after spending a year as a redshirt with Montana State University. In high school Garcia led the Bulldogs to two state title games while averaging 27 points, five rebounds and four assists per game.
Cedric Boone (6-1, G, Minnetonka, Minn): A 2016 graduate of Minnetonka High School, Boone spent the last two seasons playing at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D., playing in 51 games and averaging 21 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
Jaycob Payne (6-7, F, West Haven, Utah): The 2016 West Haven High School graduate spent the 2016-17 season playing at Western Wyoming Community College where he appeared in 13 games. He spent last season with North Iowa Area Community College, playing in 30 games and netting 10.4 points per game.