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Holst wraps up recruiting

David Bell, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard from Porterville College in California, has signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Montana men's basketball team.

Bell is a two-time All-Central Valley Conference selection. He averaged 17 points and three assists per game last season. He made 51.1 percent (88-of-169) of his 3-pointers and 82.7 percent (91-of-110) from the free-throw line.

"David Bell is a very experienced and talented player," said Grizzly basketball coach Don Holst. "His ability to shoot from 3-point range bolsters our outside game, enhances our ability to keep teams honest defensively, and will enable us to put more points on the board."

Bell made 10-of-12 3-pointers and scored 33 points in a game against Feather River College last season. He was chosen MVP of the Diablo Valley College Holiday tournament.

"David had two great years here for us," said Porterville coach George Nessman, who has had 17 players from his team move on to the Division I ranks in the last five years. "He's a great shooter, excellent in transition, and he's just an outstanding offensive player. He's also a good ball-handler and played some (point guard) for us."

The Griz, who finished 11-16 last season, shot just 35.8 percent from 3-point range after hitting 40 percent of their attempts the season before.

"He might make X amount of 3-pointers on the road some night and win a game for you," Holst said. "Idaho State won five out of eight games on the road last season (in conference play) because they can shoot. He's what we need."

UM's top returning deep threat for next season is Brent Cummings, who made 21-of-50 (42 percent) of his 3-pointers as a sophomore. Also figuring into the mix will be Ronan's Matt Luedtke, who redshirted last season.

"Bell has played under pressure for a couple of years," Holst said. "This will allow some of our younger kids to develop without pressure."

Porterville was one of the top-ranked junior college teams in the country the last two seasons, going 62-5 over that span. In Bell's freshman campaign, Porterville finished 33-4 and won the California Junior College championship.

Bell prepped at Hayward High School in Oakland, Calif. He was selected the league MVP following his senior year when he averaged 23 points a game.

Bell, the seventh player to sign with the Griz this spring, completes Holst's fourth recruiting class.

The other six recruits are:

Kevin Criswell, a 6-2 guard from Colstrip who averaged 33.5 points as a senior; Corey Easley, a 6-8Þ forward from Rosemount, Minn., who averaged 13.8 ppg; Jeff Hays, a 6-4 guard from Missoula Hellgate who averaged 14.8 ppg; Chris McKay, a 6-10 center from Victoria, British Columbia, who averaged 27.5 points and 15.0 rebounds; Victor Venters, a 6-7, 230-pound forward from Diablo Valley College who averaged 15.0 ppg; and Marcus Rosser, a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Kansas City (Kan.) Community College who averaged 14.6 ppg.

"I'm excited about the roster," Holst said. "The kids had a great spring and helped us recruit these kids."

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