BELGRADE, Mont. - Dawson Fowler of Belgrade, Montana, has signed to play basketball at the University of Montana Western ahead of his senior season.
Fowler is an all-state guard who helped lead the Belgrade Panthers to a fourth-place finish at the Class A State Tournament earlier this year.
He was the team’s leading scorer as a junior with 16.2 points per game, and also averaged 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per contest.
"It's a big relief, a weight off of my shoulders,” Fowler said. “I've been kind of thinking about it here and there, and I've been really nervous, but it's good to get it out of the way. They have had success, and they have a great coach."
Montana Western head coach Steve Keller was present for the signing ceremony at Belgrade High School, and was excited to be getting a player of Fowler’s caliber.
"Well, we've been recruiting him since seventh and eighth grade, so I don't know what took him so long to sign,” Keller said. “We feel like he's one of the top five players in the state of Montana.
"We've had him around just a lot, we've had him on our bench at numerous games. We like his athleticism, and he can shoot the ball. I really believe he's going to be a great player in the Frontier Conference.”
The Montana Western men’s basketball team has made three consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament, and seven overall in the last decade.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked 17th in the country, and are adding another talented player to the program.
"It's a huge signing for us and our program,” Keller said. “We've had a lot of success recently and we want to keep that going. When you get players like Dawson, the rest is up to him now -- when he plays, how much he plays. But we feel like his upside is huge."
Fowler says his older sister, Dylan, who plays volleyball at UM Western, really pushed for him to join her in Dillon.
"Every time I saw her or talked to her, she was always bugging me, saying, 'Come to Western! Come to Western!,'" Fowler said.
The Bulldogs men’s basketball program currently has 10 Montana natives, and has also signed Trent Mikalatos, a senior at Anaconda High School who was named Class B All-State last season.