Samuelson

Montana's Jared Samuelson dunks the ball against Portland State last season.

TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian

BILLINGS — Jared Samuelson has decided to continue his basketball career at Rocky Mountain College.

The former Billings West standout signed with the Battlin’ Bears on Monday morning.

“I’m excited to be playing basketball in my hometown,” he said.

Samuelson will have three years of eligibility.

“I’ve known his family for a long time,” said Rocky coach Bill Dreikosen. “We’re glad he’s made the decision to play closer to home. Jared’s going to be a great fit for our program.”

The 6-foot-7 forward previously played for the University of Montana. In his only season on the court for the Griz — he redshirted his first year — Samuelson averaged 5.1 points and 2.4 rebounds a game. He had a career-high 20 points against Southern Utah and 15 points in an early-season game against Wyoming.

Samuelson played in all 32 games for UM, starting one. Samuelson had the best shooting percentage for the Griz, making 57 percent of his attempts.

“We need an impact player and Jared is definitely that,” said Dreikosen. “He’s a versatile player who can score in many different ways.”

Dreikosen expects Samuelson to play the shooting forward position for the Battlin’ Bears, following Zach Hinton, Rob Nyby and Joel Barndt, all who earned All-America honors during their careers.

“We expect Jared to step into their shoes and score for us,” Dreikosen said.

The move reunites Samuelson with former West teammate Danny Betcher.

“I went to a lot of Rocky games when I was younger and I got to know some of the players last summer at open gym,” said Samuelson, who added that his brother Shane is best friends with Rocky commit RayQuan Evans of Billings Skyview.

“It’s going to be fun.”

Samuelson earned Class AA all-state honors as a senior for the Golden Bears, helping them finish 19-4 and finish second at the Class AA state tournament.

He is finishing the spring semester at UM.

Samuelson is the second recent former Grizzly to join Rocky, following Riley Bradshaw who left UM to play this past season for the Battlin’ Bears. Bradshaw led Rocky in scoring (16.1) and assists in his only season.

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