The Rustlers men's basketball team's 21-9 season was a success in more ways than one, as two players are moving on to NCAA Division I programs. Chris Quayle (Riverton, WY) signed his national letter of intent to play at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota under head coach Dave Richman, while Alihan Demir (Ankara, Turkey) signed to play at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for head coach Zach Spiker.
Quayle, a former Riverton High School Wolverine, finished the season averaging 10.4 points per game and six rebounds per game to go along with 79 total assists. He made 60 threes, shooting 37.7 percent from the perimeter. He was named Wyoming's Mr. Basketball and the Class 4A Player of the Year following his senior season at Riverton high school in 2015. He led the state in assists as a senior with 5.1 per game. Demir averaged 13.6 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game, totaling 44 assists. He shot 54 percent from the field on the year.
Both players came to Central Wyoming College with Division I aspirations after not being heavily recruited out of high school. Quayle, a 6'4" combo guard, received a Division II offer out of high school, but wanted to try his luck at the JUCO level.
Demir, a 6'8" forward, came to the United States from Ankara, Turkey in search of fulfilling his dream to play at the highest level. He initially attended West Oaks Academy, a post graduate program in Florida. After his year there, he hadn't yet caught the eye of Division I coaches. With both players being NCAA academic qualifiers, neither were forced to go the JUCO route. Rather, both took a chance on the Rustler program, knowing they would have small college opportunities to fall back on. For both players, the decision really paid off.
Head coach Dave Richman from North Dakota State said he was excited to welcome Quayle to the bison family.
"He is a high-character kid who is a great student with a true passion for basketball," Richman said. "Chris is a great teammate and a winner, which we know will only continue to enhance our culture. He can play various positions on the floor, and we have had success with tall, long perimeter players like Chris. He has a high skill set, good maturity, and a great feel for the game."
"I'm just excited that all my work throughout the years is paying off and that I'm ending up at a school that is a great fit for me," Quale said on signing his letter of intent to play at NDSU.
"I'm so excited that I am getting to the next level and can be a part of the Drexel family. I loved the campus, facilities and the staff. I can't wait to play there," Demir said.
Head Coach Jack Nelson said both players are very deserving of the opportunity that lies ahead.
"Both of these guys worked hard, improved, and deserve the opportunity to play at the Division I level," Nelson said. "Each of them having three years of eligibility remaining is huge, as it gives them plenty of time to meet their potential as players and max out their opportunity at these respective programs. We are thankful that both of them took a chance on Central Wyoming College and are eager to follow their careers at the next level."