Whitesell, Johnston inks with United Tribes Technical College

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FORMER ARLEE High School player Greg Whitesell (12) drives the lane during the Montana High School Association Class C basketball tournament. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

Former Arlee High School basketball players Lane Johnson and Greg Whitesell will get an opportunity to do what some basketball players only dream of doing.

Both Whitesell and Johnson, two players who were critical members of Arlee High School’s back-to-back Montana High School Association Class C championship teams, signed with the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota.

“That is something that I always dreamed about doing,” Johnson said. “It’s crazy how all of my work has allowed me to go play college basketball.”

Former Warriors coach Zanen Pitts is excited for the opportunities that Whitesell and Johnson will have headed to Bismarck.

“Any time you get to see any of your players move on in life, whether you progress on the court or the football field, it is inspiring and rewarding,” Pitts said. “It’s neat to see my boys doing something, and I am happy to know how much it means to them.”

Entering his freshman year with his former Warrior teammate, Johnson aims to keep his transition to collegiate basketball simple.

“I just want to help my team win as many games as possible,” Johnson said. “We are trying to put in as much work as possible and trying to get better every day.”

Johnson expressed his excitement to join his teammate Whitesell.

“I think we won together (as a team), and I think the brotherhood that we have as teammates is going to go a long way (towards having a successful) transition in college,” Johnson said. “We’ve played together for the majority of our high school career pretty much.”

Collectively as a unit, the team established a strong chemistry that translated into victories on the hardwood.

“I think we are going to bring a lot of chemistry to the team,” Johnson said. “In the long run, that is what (our team) can do this season. Establish chemistry on our new team.”

Whitesell said to be able to play college basketball with one of his closest childhood friends is surreal.

“I mean it’s a blessing to (play basketball) with my best friend,” Whitesell said. “He is my brother on and off the court. For him to be able to come with and get to start a whole new chapter in my life with my best friend right beside me through this whole thing is great.”

Entering his freshman season, Whitesell said he still would like to improve on several phases of his game.

“For me right now, I feel like I am getting better, improving my defense and I feel like I can score on anyone,” Whitesell said. “If I can show the coaches everything, I have to be able to play defense by putting in work to get bigger, stronger and faster because when I go out, I don’t want to be the weakest link. I have to continue to work to take my game to the next level this whole offseason.”

Whitesell said he would continue to work on developing his game throughout his career.

“That is one of the personal goals that I have is to earn a starting spot,” Whitesell said. “I know a starting spot (in college) will not be handed to me, and I will have to earn everything. I will always have to grind and work for what I want.”

Whitesell, who said he aspires to achieve a 3.5 GPA in his first year in college, still wants to focus on playing basketball.

“I want my main sport to be basketball until I retire,” Whitesell said. “I want to be able to just keeping playing basketball, and I have to keep working hard whether I am in the gym or not.”

Both Whitesell, and Johnson are a part of the Warrior Movement campaign, which is anti-suicide awareness campaign that went viral on You Tube after their victory over Manhattan Christian.

Arlee was one of the most successful teams in MHSA Class C in the last four seasons.

Both players were part of the Warrior Movement, an anti-suicide campaign that went viral on You Tube, that has now turned into a non-profit company raising awareness about suicide prevention and mental health.

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