Three Badgers sign to play basketball with D-I schools
April 22, 2015
EPHRAIM, Utah -- Three Snow College sophomores signed National Letters of Intent today to join the men’s basketball programs this fall at D1 institutions. Walter Wright (University of Montana), Gentrey Thomas (University of California, Riverside) and Larenz Stalcup (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) led the Badgers to a record of 18-12 during the past season before losing to eventual league champion College of Southern Idaho in the second round of the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament.
Walter Wright, 5’11” point guard out of Wilby High School in Waterbury, Conn., was First Team All-SWAC following both of his seasons at Snow, and was named Honorable Mention All-American following his sophomore season. Wright averaged 21.8 points and 6.0 assists this year along with 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. His best game as a Badger came this past November when he set an all-time Snow College scoring record with 49 points in a 96-89 win over Sheridan College (Wyo.). In that game he also handed out 11 assists and pulled down seven rebounds. Wright broke the school’s record of 45 points in a game set in 1955.
At the signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Wright said he wanted to “thank everyone at Snow College for their support, along with my parents, Coach (Rob) Nielson, and my teammates for pushing me so hard.” Wright said he is excited to become a Grizzly at the University of Montana in the Big Sky Conference because “the city of Missoula really supports the basketball program, and the program definitely has a family environment.” Wright continued, “I want to give a shout out to my parents and everyone in Waterbury who have always been so supportive of me.”
Gentrey Thomas, 6’4” guard from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was named Second Team All-SWAC following his sophomore season when he averaged 14.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Thomas was named the National Men’s Basketball Player of the Week by the National Junior College Athletic Association during the final week of the regular season when he scored 27 points against North Idaho and 26 points against Southern Idaho in back-to-back games. Thomas said that week was special for him as his parents came from Nova Scotia to watch him play that week. “They have been so supportive of me even when I play so far from home,” he said.
“I want to thank the coaching staff at Snow for staying with me, and staying on me, during my time here,” Thomas said. He will be following in the footsteps of Snow College guard Nick Gruninger (2011-13) who just completed two successful years at UC Riverside, leading the Highlanders in assists per game as a senior. “Nick just texted me and told me that Riverside will be a good place for me to be,” said Thomas.
Larenz Stalcup, 6’11” center from Wasson High School in Colorado Springs, led the Badgers in rebounding this past season with 6.8 rebounds per game while also averaging 7.7 points and 1.5 blocks per game. He scored 15 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a game in January against eventual SWAC champion Southern Idaho. Stalcup was named All-SWAC Honorable Mention following his sophomore season.
“Snow College has been a very good experience for me,” Stalcup said, but added he is excited to become a Ragin’ Cajun and play in the Sun Belt Conference. “Louisiana-Lafayette has great athletic programs, every sport,” Stalcup said, “And I want to be part of getting them back into the NCAA tournament.” The Ragin' Cajuns have been invited to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament 10 times, most recently in 2014.
“These young men have worked very hard for us,” said Snow head coach Rob Nielson. “I’m sorry to see them go, but at the same time I’m excited for the opportunities each one of them will have as they move on. I know they will represent Snow College well and we’re proud to be part of what they have achieved so far.”
Snow College, the oldest continuously operating junior college west of the Mississippi River, has campuses in both Ephraim and Richfield, Utah, and plays men’s and women’s basketball, as well as volleyball and softball in the highly competitive Scenic West Athletic Conference.