I have been told that Wayne Tinkle’s Grizzly coaching staff is recruiting Francisco Cruz of Western Nebraska JC. Cruz is a 6-4 ½ small forward who played prep ball at Lincoln high school in Englewood Colorado, but is originally from Nogales, Mexico.
While at Lincoln high school he led the team to two consecutive class 4A titles his junior and senior year. His senior year he averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds a game. During the state tournament he upper his scoring average to over 24 points a game. That year he was named 4A- player of the year, and All-Tournament MVP by most Colorado newspapers and prep publications.
This past season at Western Nebraska he averaged 16.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists a game while shooting 78% from the charity stripe, 56% from the field and 50% from beyond the three point arc. He was named Western Nebraska’s basketball MVP for the season and earned the male athlete of the year award for the entire college. Cruz was also named to the NJCAA District 9 all regional team.
Interestingly enough, as a high school player Cruz was primarily an inside to mid range player, and not a three point threat at all. He was told if he wanted to play D-1 ball he would need to play the wing spot. Last year Cruz hit 41 or 82 shots from three point range and is now considered a small forward shooting guard prospect.
Griz fans should remember this Cruz’s name as I am told he is VERY interested in the University of Montana program. His current JC coach is Russ Beck a good friend and former assistant to current Griz assistant Bill Evans. Washington State is also in the picture but the grizzlies are considered the leader for his services.