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Wright State signs forward from Montana, loses freshman Bowie

The recruiting game never ends. Wright State men’s basketball coach Billy Donlon knows that better than anyone.

Back in June, it looked as if the Raiders’ roster for the 2013-14 season was set with the signings of guards Mark Howell and Ryan Bowie. The additions of those two players from Texas offset the losses of three freshman who left the program in April.

But toward the end of July, Donlon learned Bowie would be leaving Wright State after practicing with the team during the first summer session. Once again, Donlon had a scholarship open. His assistant coach Brendan Mullins told him about a player he had seen out west, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward named Daniel Meyer, of Billings Central Catholic High School in Montana.

“I think it’s worth you looking at him,” Mullins told Donlon.

In the last week of July, Donlon watched Meyer play with his summer team, the Colorado Chaos, at a tournament in Las Vegas. Meyer visited Wright State on Aug. 6 and announced his verbal commitment Aug. 8. Wright State announced his signing Thursday, while also announcing the departure of Bowie.

Donlon said he couldn’t comment on why Bowie decided to leave. Bowie said, “things didn’t work out,” and declined to comment further. He said he would return to Iowa Western Community College, where he played last season.

Meyer gives the Raiders added depth in the post. He averaged 20.2 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game as a senior. He also was considering Yale, Lipscomb, Western Illinois and Nebraska-Omaha.

“I’m a hard rebounder who runs the floor and plays with a high level of energy,” Meyer said. “I can score with my back to the basket, and I’m developing a jump shot.”

Meyer said he was a late commitment because he originally had only a few Division II and NAIA offers. He planned to attend a prep school for a year, but then he played summer basketball with the Chaos and increased his visibility and began getting more offers.

Playing a long way from home isn’t a big deal. His parents are pilots, making it easier for them to travel. His mom flies for United Airlines, and his dad for American Airlines.

Meyer plans to major in engineering. He said Wright State felt the right fit from the moment he stepped on campus.

Donlon was particularly impressed with Meyer’s speed. Meyer also ran cross country in high school.

“I spoke with his high school, who is a really good man, and he agreed Daniel’s best days of basketball are ahead of him,” Donlon said. “Some kids don’t mind physical play. Some kids seek physical contact. I think Daniel seeks it.

“I felt like I was very honest with Daniel. When you look at our roster and we have Cole Darling, Tavares Sledge, J.T. Yoho, AJ Pacher, Steven Davis, there’s not a lot of places for a guy with size to get minutes if everybody’s healthy, but you can compete every day in practice and learn the system. If he earns playing time, he’ll play. If not, the following year when we graduate AJ, Jerran and Cole, he’ll have a year in the program, and he’ll have a chance to contribute significantly in year two.”

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