Apr 24, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorDickinson State University men's basketball coach Ty Orton bolstered his point guard situation by signing Slade Spoonhunter to his program.
The point guard was a standout player for Wyoming Indian High School.
After playing the last two years at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Spoonhunter will move to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics level in Dickinson, N.D.
Spoonhunter redshirted his first season for the Eastern Wyoming College Lancers.
"Slade has really developed as a basketball player," Orton said. "He was a big scorer in high school and a smart player. When he went to college, he became more of a distributor kind of guy. He really knows how to distribute the ball. We want the combination of both. We need that scoring point guard."
Spoonhunter was a part of a Class 2-A championship for Wyoming Indian in high school.
"I expect Slade to make our team stronger," Orton said. "He will come in and make everybody better. Strong players make people around them better."
Spoonhunter will spend the offseason concentrating on his shooting skills.
"I think that it's more of a confidence thing," Spoonhunter said. "That is something that you can always get better at, along with ball-handling skills."
"It was a better year than we had last year," Spoonhunter said. "It ended the same way. It was disappointing."
Eastern Wyoming College finished the season with a 16-15 overall record.
Eastern posted an 8-8 mark in the Region IX South division. The Lancers were eliminated from postseason play in the opening round of the Region IX tournament.
"We thought that we had a real good chance at winning it this year," Spoonhunter said.
Spoonhunter averaged 4.2 assists for Eastern. He scored 4.4 points per game while running the offense as the point guard.
"It was the same as last year, I was just more prepared," Spoonhunter said. "The redshirt prepared me for last year. I knew what to expect. It was a much easier transition this year."
Spoonhunter started the majority of the time for the Lancers.
"It's awesome to bring the ball up," Spoonhunter said. "You try to control the tempo when the ball is in your hands. I also think that it's the toughest job on the floor."
Spoonhunter played for head coach Casey Jones at Eastern.
"Casey and I both played for the same coach in college," Orton said. "We kind of run the same systems. I don't think the transition for Slade is going to be that much. He will have some transition just because it's a little bit of a different program."
Dickinson State finished the past season with a 12-18 overall record. Dickinson State was 5-9 in conference play.
The Blue Hawks play in the Frontier Conference.
"We signed a couple of big kids for next year," Orton said. "Last year, we didn't have all the pieces. We had some injuries. We really kind of limped through the season with a bunch of undersized kids in one of the top conferences in the nation in NAIA."
Members of the Frontier Conference are Lewis-Clark State College, Montana Western, MSU-Northern, Westminster College, Rocky Mountain College, University of Great Falls, Montana Tech and Carroll College.
Lewis-Clark State College won the regular season title at 11-4.
"We have added seven players from point guard to 6-foot-8 or 6-9 kids," Orton said. "We are really adding a lot of pieces that are going to make us stronger."
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