MISSOULA — It's not often a Class C athlete from western Montana attracts so much attention from college scouts.
Noxon senior Rylan Weltz was tugged in a couple different directions by recruiters intent on signing him up. Montana Western wanted the agile 6-foot-6, 230-pound prospect to play for its football team on scholarship. Dawson Community College (Glendive) was after him to play basketball.
In the end, Weltz stuck with his first love: Basketball.
"He's that player that doesn't come around that often because he is so big yet he can shoot very well," said Rylan's dad and high school coach, Ryan. "I envision (Dawson) having him be that big man that can play inside.
"But yet with the evolving big man in college basketball, they shoot pretty well, too. I see him as a guy that can step out and shoot the 3-point shot for them every once in a while."
Weltz had numbers that were off-the-charts good this past winter. He averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds per game. He scored 42 on one magical night against Clark Fork, Idaho, and in another game he snared a career-high 20 rebounds.
"Rylan will probably be the strongest guy in our program next year, but he adds much more than just size," Dawson Community College coach Joe Peterson said. "I think he's a hidden gem in Montana and we are excited we get to develop him and I'm sure coming here will open up a world of opportunities for his future."
The Weltz family is no stranger to basketball success. Ryan was on the Montana Tech roster for a while. Rylan has several cousins that also played on the college level.
"College basketball has always been a huge goal of mine," Rylan said.
Rylan Weltz earned a Class C all-state selection this past season and earned all-conference honors all four seasons of his high school career. He was on the radar for several Frontier Conference basketball coaches and may end up playing for one of them after two years in Glendive.
"The Frontier coaches didn't get a chance to see him this year, so it would have been a matter of coming and trying out," Ryan Weltz said of his son. "Then the COVID-19 shut everything down.
"Granted he'll have to specialize more in college, but I think Rylan is that rare combination of being able to do a lot of things on the basketball floor. Then growing up a coach's son — and he's a smart kid anyway — he has a high basketball IQ."