Bargen adds Bargen

Zac Bargen

CHADRON – Three community college transfers and two freshmen have been added to the men's basketball team at Chadron State College, coach Brent Bargen said. They have joined seven letterwinners and two players who redshirted last season.

The newcomers include the coach's son, Zac Bargen, who played at Butler Community College in Kansas the past two years after being a standout on Chadron High School teams that won 72 of 80 games and placed fourth once and second twice in Class C-1 at the state tournament.

The other transfers are Grant Stone of Canton, Mich., and Chris Taylor of Amman, Jordan. All three are 6-foot-5 juniors.

Stone graduated from Salem High School and Henry Ford Community College in the Detroit area. After coming to the United States, Taylor played one year at Laguna Beach High and two years at Irvine Valley College. Both are located in southern California.

The freshmen recruits are Dominque Watkins, a 5-10 guard from The Bishop's High School in San Diego, and Brandon Pippenger, a 6-8 forward from Martin Luther High at Banning, Calif.

Zac Bargen averaged 15 points and 6.6 rebounds while earning Class C-1 all-state honors at for the Cardinals his senior year. He scored 1,090 points during his career at Chadron High.

He averaged about nine points and five rebounds last season, when he was asked to move from small forward to the post area because Butler County was lacking height.

Stone averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds and made 40 of 90 3-point shots for Henry Ford last season.

Taylor averaged about seven points and three rebounds for Irvine Valley, which had balanced scoring while compiling 20-6 record and going 11-1 on the road.

Watkins averaged about 18 points at Bishop's High last season and 13.4 points and 4.8 assists his junior year.

Pippenger averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks and led the team in taking charges at Martin Luther King High last season.

Coach Bargen said the newcomers add both size and skill to the roster, but he noted the Eagles have some big shoes to fill. Four members of last year's team, which won 11 of its final 13 regular season games to finish 13-13, graduated.

The missing include the team's three leading scorers and rebounders-center Moala Tautuaa, guard Kevin McClelland and forward Chris Curtis. Also graduating was alternate point guard Christian McGhee.

On the bright side, all but one of the Eagles with eligibility remaining have returned this fall.

The lettermen are seniors Sammy Hines and Josh Hatcher, juniors David Downey and Tim McDavid and sophomores Kendrick Holliman, Michael Safer and Kyle Vinich.

Hines (5-9) was the starting point guard last season, Hatcher (6-6), Holliman (6-4) and Vinich (6-6) are forwards, Downey (6-3) and McDavid (6-2) are guards and Safer (6-10) is a center.

Also back after not playing last season because of injuries are Justyn Anderson, a 5-9 point guard, and Mouhamed Diop, a 6-8 post player.

"We'll have the most size and depth than we've had since I've been here," said Bargen, who is beginning his seventh season with the Eagles. "We'll also have considerable experience at every position except center. We should be able to play solid defense and rebound pretty well. But we'll need to find some scorers who can take up the slack for the seniors who graduated."

Bargen added that while the Eagles will lack experience at center, he is excited to have three young players, two of them 6-8 and the other 6-10, on the roster.

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