Come the 2022 Montana men›s basketball season, the Grizzlies will add a little bit of Hi-Line flair to its lineup.
Shelby junior forward Rhett Reynolds announced his commitment to the program on Wednesday over Twitter. His offer is a full scholarship offer from UM, the 6-foot-9 forward told the Missoulian and 406mtsports.com on Thursday.
He is Montana’s first known commit of the 2022 class.
“I’m so thankful for it, it’s pretty crazy,” Reynolds said. “Not gonna lie, if you would have told me two years ago I’d be going to the Griz, it’d be mind blowing.”
Reynolds caught the eye of Grizzly basketball coaches at a camp the school hosted prior to his sophomore year. He felt he played well at the camp and spoke to assistant coach Jay Flores while he was there.
Montana started recruiting him hard this past summer and then gave him an offer. He had other schools contact him, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, no other team had really seen him showcase his talent like the Grizzlies had at their camp.
College recruiting has been tough for schools and prospective student-athletes alike.
“It’s just kind of hard because they didn’t want to invest in a player they hadn’t seen yet,” Reynolds said. “I understand that.”
Make no mistake, Reynolds is thrilled to be a Grizzly. He’s long followed the team and it was a dream come true for the talented forward to play at the Division-I level.
Long known for its strong family atmosphere, that was another key to his commitment.
“The thing that Coach (Travis) DeCuire and Coach (Jay) Flores told me is welcome to the family,” Reynolds said. “I just think it’s a big family, it doesn’t matter when you were a part of it, you’re part of the family. That’s the really cool thing with them, traditions stay forever and people always want to be about winning.
“I think it’s a big reason why they have a lot of guys stick around, people love winning.”
Averaging 19.7 points per game and playing under his father, Tom, at Shelby High School has prepared him well for the chance. His brother, TJ, is a sophomore at MSU-Northern, so the basketball connections are there for Reynolds.
His season high was 30 points on the road at Conrad and also netted 29 against Rocky Boy. The Coyotes are 9-2 to start the year.
“My family is a huge part of it, they’ve led me in the right direction,” Reynolds said. “I’ve had great teammates ... and have always had great coaches, which has helped me along the way. Doesn’t matter what sport it’s in, they’ve pushed me.”
Playing football and track — where he competes in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races as well as the high jump and relays — he finds time to recreationally play golf as well.
Reynolds played AAU ball with Select, a strong program based in Garden City, Idaho. Many of Montana’s best high school prospects have gone through that program.
The multi-faceted athlete should fit in well with Montana. He’s lengthy and athletic and can play multiple positions. UM often likes its forwards to be able to play both forward spots as well as center and have found lots of success with those type of players.
Despite showing his talent scoring, he also has all the tools to be a strong defender — something the Grizzlies demand out of all their players. A good rebounder as well, there are lots of things for UM fans to like about their newest pickup.
“I love playing good defense,” Reynolds said. “When we’re a good defensive team it’s more fun than being on a good offensive teams because defense leads to offense. That’s what makes a good team.”