Cougars sign two guards from Utah

Tyler Crosbie

Western Nebraska Community College men's basketball coach Russ Beck has added some scoring punch to the team for next year in the signing of Utah all-state players Diante Mitchell and Tyler Crosbie.

"We are absolutely pleased that these two young men have chosen to pursue an education and further their already decorated basketball careers here at Western Nebraska Community College," Beck said. "Not only will these two provide us with one of the best freshman back courts in the NJCAA but they are both young men that have high character and an amazing work ethic." "We expect both of them to step in right away and we feel that they are going to give us a dynamic 1-2 punch."

Both players earned all-state honors in Utah this season. Crosbie is a 6-foot-1 shooting guard that averaged 17.3 points, 3.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.3 steals a game for Mountain Crest High school in Providence, Utah.

Crosbie earned 4A first team all-state honors. He also was named to the all-tournament team, first team all-region, and defensive player of the year in the region. He also led the state the past two seasons in steals.

Mitchell brings the same type of credentials to the Cougars. Mitchell played at Syracuse High in Syracuse, Utah. Mitchell averaged 20.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 46 percent shooting from the 3-point area, and 80 percent from the free throw line.

Mitchell received all-state honors, was a two-time all-Region player, and a three-time all-Area player. He had career highs of 31 points and 11 rebounds a double overtime game this season against American Fork. Mitchell said his most memorable game was his sophomore year when he earned his first varsity start where his team came back from a 27 point deficit to beat Davis for the first time in Syracuse school history.

Mitchell said he can't wait to become a Cougar.

"It means a lot being able to play college basketball," Mitchell said. "Not many kids get the opportunity to have school paid for and play a sport they love. I would like to go as far as I possibly can playing the game of basketball. You only get so long to play the game and I want to play as long as possible and have as much fun in the process."

Mitchell was highly recruited and entertained interest from Trinity University, the University of Dallas, Hamline University, Dixie State University, Weber State University, Snow College, and Central Wyoming College. But he was sold on WNCC because of what the college hat to offer.

"I choose to come to WNCC because of all the great opportunities it presents to me," he said. "I think it can open doors that I might not have known about before."

It also didn't hurt that Mitchell knew other Utah players that played at WNCC.

"I have a friend's sister, Bree Bitton, who played softball at WNCC and she said she loved it," he said. "I also talked with Scott Bamforth who played there a few years and then played at Weber State and he said he enjoyed his time down there as well."

Mitchell's goals is to be as successful as what Bitton and Bamforth was at WNCC.

"My goals are set pretty high, I want to work to win conference championships and compete for national championships," he said. "The, after all the work to try and reach those goals, I would like to try and earn another scholarship to a four year university after."

Crosbie also has high goals set for himself and the team next year.

"My goals for playing basketball at WNCCc are to work as hard as I possibly can and be the best I can be. Most importantly, I want to help the cougars win a conference championship."

Crosbie has all the tools to make those dreams come true. He, too, was highly recruited. He was looking at Snow College, Dixie State, and Salt Lake Community College. He said he wants to make the most this opportunity with hopes of moving on to the next level.

"It means a lot to me to be playing college basketball," he said. "This has been my dream ever since I was a kid. My plan is to hopefully play 2 years and then be able to go to a D1."

One of the reasons he choose WNCC over the other three was because of Beck.

"I decided to sign with Western Nebraska because they have a great team year after year and a great community," Crosbie said. "I haven't been able to visit the town or campus yet but I've only heard great things about it from people I've asked. I also signed because of Coach Beck. He is a great guy and an outstanding coach and I know he's going to help me succeed in everything at WNCC."

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