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Mott-Regent's Zentner signs with DSU

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Mott-Regent senior Taylor Zentner signs his letter of intent to play for the Dickinson State men's basketball team this fall on Friday at Scott Gymnasium.

Mott-Regent senior Taylor Zentner put on a spectacle during the Region 7 boys basketball tournament.

After scoring a tournament-high 85 points, Dickinson State men's head basketball coach Ty Orton saw endless possibilities.

"I think that showed he wants to be at the collegiate level," Orton said. "He plays with fire and desire. He wants to win the game.

"I was really impressed with his tournament performance. The other teams were all over him and he was still doing the little things right. He made everyone around him better."

On Friday, the 6-foot-2 all-state point guard made it official, signing his letter of intent to play basketball for the Blue Hawks this fall.

"It's going to be a great experience," Zentner said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I really liked their style of play and they have some local guys that are really good players."

Plus getting to play in front of his hometown crowd for the next four years is very rewarding.

"They've given me a lot of support," Zentner said. "It's just something that I can try to give back to them."

Zentner joins a signing class which includes Dickinson Trinity standout Jacob Volk. Like Volk, Zentner won't be redshirting this upcoming season and plans to backup starting point guard and former Trinity standout Robbie Morey.

"We could look everywhere and to have Taylor and Jacob in our backyard," Orton said, "we are pretty fortunate they fit our program. They are just going to make our program stronger for the next four years."

During Zentner's senior year, he was Region 7's leading scorer with 21.3 points per game. Orton feels one of Zentner's best attributes is the ability to see the floor well. Plus, Zentner executes the no-look pass better than almost any player in the state.

"You watch how well he sees the floor," Orton said. "He passes, he's unselfish and then he can turn around handle the ball and create his own shot. He can also shoot the 3. He has a pretty solid game coming in.

"Everyone knows he can score, but once you get past the scoring you see everything else he does away from the ball is impressive."

Zentner is excited about joining the Blue Hawks. After participating in a couple open gyms with the DSU players at Scott Gymnasium, Zentner said he feels comfortable with the team already.

"The other players are very supportive of me and they are going to try to keep making me better," Zentner said.

Last week, Zentner had surgery on his foot to remove a piece of bone and to repair a piece of cartilage that was torn. He was on crutches on Friday, but has no doubt he will be at full health at the start of the season.

The Blue Hawks also signed three more players this week. DSU added 6-8, 240-pound center McKay Blackburn, who averaged seven points and five rebounds per game, guards Slade Spoonhunter and Rico Booth. Blackburn and Spoonhunter are both from Eastern Wyoming College, while Booth is a transfer from Dawson Community College in Glendive, Mont. Orton said big man Blackburn will make an immediate impact.

"McKay is the inside presence that we need," Orton said. "We are very excited to get him. We think he's a guy who can pound and a guy that can post. He opens a lot of things up."

With the recent signings, Orton feels all the pieces are falling into place.

"We didn't have those full pieces for the last couple years," he said. "Now we are getting the right kind of pieces in there and you can see what the picture is going to look like. Right now, it's a little blurry, but at least those pieces are filled and what direction we are heading."