MSUB's Damen Thacker

Editor's note: MSUB Release. 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Montana State University Billings men’s basketball senior Damen Thacker has yet to suit up for the Yellowjackets, but in the eyes of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference coaches, his reputation precedes him.

The transfer guard from the University of Idaho was the lone newcomer to make the 2021-22 GNAC Preseason All-Conference team, released this Thursday. He was the only MSUB player; Seattle Pacific’s Divant’e Moffitt was the Preseason Player of the Year and no team had more than two players make the list.

“It’s great for Damen and for us,” MSUB head men’s basketball coach Mick Durham said of Thacker’s award. “He comes to us with a lot of experience. With us having so many new guys in the program, it tells you something about what the coaches think of his ability, knowing him from his past days at the University of Idaho and what he did in the NWAC.”

Thacker comes to MSUB after most recently playing for two seasons at the University of Idaho. During his time in Moscow, Idaho, Thacker quickly established himself as a consistent part of the Vandals’ rotation, and eventually started in 39 of his 52 games. In 2020-21, Thacker averaged 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in Big Sky play while also shooting 84.9% from the charity stripe – good for fourth in the conference. He scored in double-figures 10 times last season, including a D1-career-high 27 points at Southern Utah on Jan. 7.

A native of Meridian, Idaho, Thacker started his collegiate career at Southern Virginia before transferring to Walla Walla Community College, where he led the team with 22.6 points per game and brought the Warriors the NWAC Championship game. He was a two-time All-Eastern Region First-Team selection, plus he made the All-NWAC Tournament Team during his junior college career.

“With us not having played last season and having a new team, it’s good to get somebody recognized,” Durham said.

Picked 10th in the GNAC preseason poll, MSUB’s official start to the season is playing Cal State San Marcos at its CSUSM Hoops Classic on Nov. 15. Before then, however, the ‘Jackets have their annual Alumni Game this Friday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., which is open to the public.