February 21, 2016

Falls goes with the Griz

Kevin McCarthy

photo of Tim Falls

Will Cherry was first, followed by Mario Dunn, Then it was Jermaine Edmonds Jr. Each a Bay Area native, they singularly made the call to play D1 basketball with the Montana Grizzlies. Now, Dublin High 2017 guard Timmy Falls has elected to join this group with his early verbal commitment to Coach Travis DeCuire.

Some may wonder why travel 1,130 or so miles to embark on the D1 scene? One component to that answer is to join a team that annually competes for the Big Sky Conference crown and thus a trip to the Big Dance -- the most recent times being in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

That and other reasons made the difference for the 6-foot-2 Falls. “It was my first offer [at the time] and when I visited the coaches and players made me feel comfortable. I liked the campus and the environment and Coach Trav laid out his future plan for me.”

The relationship began last summer after Team Arsenal played in a tournament in Texas. “After talking with them [Montana], they called me and offered,” Falls explained. Communication plus chemistry evolved into a bond and he was able to visualize a future in school and on court at Missoula.

There were also visits to USF, Santa Clara, St Mary's, Davis and offers from Weber State, San Jose State University and Cal State Bakersfield.

DeCuire is in his second year of helming the Grizzly program. After a 20-11, 14-4 opening season, Montana is currently 11-2 and in first place in conference play, 16-8 overall. Plus DeCuire, who was an all conference guard as both a junior and senior during his playing days at Montana, is very familiar with Bay Area hoops due to having assisted at California from 2008-2014.

Additionally, Grizzly assistant and recruiting coordinator Chris Cobb has a heralded hoops history in northern California. He played as a guard at Bishop O'Dowd—All League as a junior and senior—and then Menlo College—twice an All-California Pacific Conference first team selection. Upon graduation, he coached a year at San Francisco State and then five seasons at Chico State before moving over to Montana.

One more factor for heading to the Big Sky State is Falls' relationship with Montana signee Sayeed Pridgett, a senior at El Cerrito High. “We're pretty good friends,” Falls explained, adding that Pridgett provided input.

He's being looked at as a combo guard by Montana. With that in mind, Falls will be focusing on “my ball handling and getting my arms and legs stronger. Guys are longer in college and I'll be shooting further out.”

Asked about his best basketball moments, Falls chose two. “Last year, we were playing Las Lomas and fighting for a playoff spot and Kobe Toney banked in the game-winning three. It was featured on ESPN's Sports Center.” Falls scored 25 points in that comeback victory.

His other highlight: “beating Bishop O'Dowd this season.” That was a 62-48 Dublin victory in December's Prep2Prep Classic in which Falls was named the player of the game after producing 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Gaels are 23-3, 10-2 thus far in the 2015-16 season and right in the thick of things at second place in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League. A nine-game winning streak has built momentum with the playoffs at hand.