October 9, 2015

Pridgett to Big Sky Country

Kevin McCarthy

Call it a congruent fit, with all elements harmoniously clicking -- such summarizes the strong connection between Sayeed Pridgett and University of Montana basketball and it made the former's decision to commit to the Grizzly hoops program a rather easy one.

photo of Sayeed Pridgett

Not that it wasn't a serious relationship all along but the pairing between Pridgett and Coach Travis DeCuire and Assistant Coach Chris Cobb reached critical mass during an official visit to Missoula in the last weekend in August.

“My decision was based it feeling like home for me during my trip,” Pridgett explained. “I had developed a strong relationship with Coach DeCuire and Coach Cobb and it also felt good when I played with some of the guys, like I had already been there.”

Junior point Mario Dunn, out of Salesian High, was his player host and that contributed to the comfort level. Pridgett also caught the Griz football team beating North Dakota State 38-35 in front of over 26,000 fans in a display of support for athletics by students and Missoulians.

He added, “Around the summer of my sophomore year, Coach Cobb broke the program down for me.” Maybe even more importantly, “he got my family aboard.”

So a week after his trip, Pridgett reached out to DeCuire and Cobb and let them know he was committing.

He'll be positioned at the one and two spots.

Pridgett made it a point to thank his parents, the Oakland Rebels, plus Phil Taylor and Raymond Young in particular. “Without them, I wouldn't be in the position I am now.”

Montana is an always competitive member of the Big Sky Conference and the Griz finished 14-4 last season and in a tie for first place during McCuire's first season at the helm despite pre-season predictions pegging them for the eighth spot. Current prognostications are placing Montana again on top for the 2015-16 go-around.

With his future address settled, Pridgett can now fully concentrate on the upcoming El Cerrito High season. “We are going to be very young but good. We lost some key players (from a squad that finished 29-4 overall plus 10-0 in the Tri-County League. Rock Division and will be be minus Tyrell Alcorn, Carlos Johnson and Bernard Ward) but this will get me prepared for college.” The team's returning leading scorer, rebounder and assist producer will be counted on to provide an even higher degree of leadership.