WNCC men's basketball team inks all-staters from Utah
     2013-05-16      By WNCC News service   
Courtesy photo - WNCC men's basketball head coach Russ Beck observes as Austin Clark signs a letter of intent to play for the Cougars next year. Clark is one of two all state players from Utah that will join the Cougars. 
SCOTTSBLUFF - Western Nebraska Community College men’s basketball coach Russ Beck added two more prolific scorers to the Cougar team for next year in signing Utah all-state guards Austin Clark and Preston Christensen last week.

Clark is a 6-foot-4 wing player from South Sevier High In Richfield, Utah while, Christensen is a 6-2 guard out of Northridge High in Layton, Utah. Both players bring talent to the court as well as strong academic backgrounds.

“Preston gives us some versatility. He is a big strong guard that can create, score, defend and rebound,” Beck said. “He is as tough as they come. He reminds me a lot of Mike Peltz, who had a great two year career here. We expect great things from Preston. He is a competitor and someone who possesses high character and work ethic.”

Preston averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds a game his senior season at Northridge, while dishing out three assists and 1.3 steals a game. He earned second team 5A all-state this past year. He also carries a 3.94 grand point average.

Beck is also high on Clark, who is that lanky wing player that can play a variety of positions.

Clark averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals a
game at South Sevier High. He was named a first team all-state and was a three-year all-state award winner.
Both players said they are excited to be joining the Cougar program. Clark, who was also recruited by Northwest Wyoming, Central Wyoming, and Snow College, felt at home at WNCC.

“I felt more comfortable here with the coach and everything,” Clark said. “It was an easy choice after I got to know everyone here. By signing here, it took a load off my shoulders and I am super happy with my decision. Everything feels right and I can’t wait for the season to be here and be starting.”

Clark said it will be hard to leave home but he is looking at the next chapter in his playing days.
“It will be hard leaving home. I live with my mom, a single parent, and I am definitely a momma’s boy,” he said. “So it is hard for me to leave her and be that far away but I think it will be good for me. “

What Clark will bring to the team is leadership and his winning ways that he instilled at South Sevier High.
“I work hard and I definitely will be in the gym every day,” Clark said. “I want to improve my game and help the team. I will bring a good work ethic and I will push everyone. “

Clark said his high school never lost a home game. He was also a part of a state championship his junior year while losing just one game. Last season, his basketball team lost four games and finished third at the state tournament.

Clark, who plans to major in Wildlife Biology, said he had a great high school career.
“I had one of the best high school careers I could ask for as far as win loss record,” he said. “We lost one game last year and this past year we lost four with three of them coming to big 5A opponents and we are a small 2A school.”

Just like Clark, Christensen was also highly recruited but couldn’t pass up being a Cougar.
“I chose WNCC because I am confident that it is a great opportunity and situation for me” he said. “It is also my dream to pursue basketball as far as I can go, and I feel like WNCC can help me with that in many ways as they put lots of guys into Division 1 programs every year. I also felt welcomed and loved by Coach Beck.
I am humbled to be part of the program.”

Christensen had a memorable career at Northridge. He said his biggest game was scoring 36 points in a game against their rival. He said at one time in the game, he scored 18 straight and had 27 points in the second half. He is also humble as he grew more as a player in games where he struggled scoring.

“Another great game I had was during my junior year at Weber when I hit a game winner,” he said. “But I am also grateful for the games I struggled in because I was able to fight through adversity and learn and grow through these experiences.”

Christensen is also excited to be playing with two Cougar recruits that he played against in Utah – Diante Mitchell and Tyler Crosbie. Both Mitchell and Crosbie signed with the Cougars in April.

“I had a chance to play against both of these talented players during the high school season and I am very excited and honored to get on the court with them at WNC,.” Christensen said. “At WNCC, as a team, I want to contend for, and win a national championship. Individually I want to be a JUCO All-American.”

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