May 14, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorRiverton's Brady Fullerton and Kylan Shultz signed national letters of intent to attend and play basketball for Central Wyoming College.
Brady Fullerton and Kylan Shultz were integral pieces of the Big Red puzzle this season as the Wolverines' dynamic duo helped lead their Riverton teammates to the school's first-ever state basketball championship.
Next season, local basketball fans won't have far to go to see the pair compete at the collegiate level, as Fullerton and Shultz have signed national letters of intent to play for Central Wyoming College.
For both players, the appeal of playing college basketball in their hometown was an offer they simply couldn't refuse.
"It's definitely exciting," said Fullerton. "Especially being able to play in front of my family."
For Shultz, wearing the orange and black of the Rustlers is a longtime dream come true, he said.
"I've always wanted to play for CWC since I was a little kid," said Shultz. "It really means a lot to me and means so much to be a part of. It's what I've been wishing for."
Central head coach Jack Nelson is thrilled to have been able to secure the services of Fullerton and Shultz and in the process, not only add quality to his roster, but mine diamonds from the local rough who bring a winning pedigree, as well as boundless work ethic and court smarts, he said.
"Both of these guys are used to winning and understand what it takes to win games," said Nelson. "Obviously, both guys have their unique strengths and will bring different things to our program. For me, Brady is a guy that has many strengths, but maybe his biggest one to me is his basketball IQ.
He's very smart and very willing to just make the right play which is something I talk to our team about a lot. For Kylan, the biggest thing for me is just how much he loves the game and how hard he plays at all times. He plays as hard as he can, no matter if it's in practice, open gym or the state championship game -- that alone will allow him to help our program."
Fullerton averaged 14 points, 5.2 assists and 2.6 steals from his point guard position in his senior campaign, as well as being a tenacious defender for the Wolverines and was named to the Class 3-A all-state squad, as well as being Fremont County player of the year.
His versatility and well-roundedness will serve him well at the collegiate level, said Nelson.
"Brady's a very versatile player and all of those things will benefit him and our program," he said. "Like any freshman, he's going to have to adjust to the speed and athleticism of the college game, but I have no doubt he has the work ethic and the love for the game to make the adjustments and excel in our program."
Although Fullerton may be a bit more polished as he begins his college hardwood journey, Nelson is excited about the sheer energy, passion and desire Shultz brings to the table, he said.
"Kylan is a player I think is only going to get better," said Nelson. "The thing I like about him the most is just his love for the game and the vigor he plays with. Having that is going to allow him to continue to grow as a player and as that happens, it will only help our team continue to grow, as well."
According to Nelson, the fact both players are not only from Wyoming, but Riverton, is a bonus.
"In college basketball, the most important thing is to find a high level of talent to go along with a high level of character," said Nelson. "If I can do that in our home state, or in this case, our home town, then that's great. Fortunately, for us this year (Riverton head coach Stuart) Mullins did a great job and had a very good bunch of guys, which allowed us to keep a couple of them at home for a couple years."
For Nelson, he tries to find players who will fit into his system, but also recruit the best athletes available, he said.
"I do my best to blend both of those things together," said Nelson. "We want to recruit the right type of guys -- meaning we want guys that are going to be good students, good people in the community and obviously good basketball players, as well."
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