The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team announced the addition of Josh Dilling (G, 6-4 180, Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh North H.S.), Jaylen James (G, 6-1 175, Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview H.S.), and Ethan Channel (G, 6-4 190, Beaverton, Ore./Portland Community College), and Leonard Dixon (F, 6-7 200, Damascus, Ore./Mount Hood Community College).
Josh Dilling (G, 6-4 180, Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh North H.S.)
Dilling averaged 19.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game for Oshkosh North High School, as a senior. Dilling shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc and 87.3 percent from the foul line during his senior season. He had 30 points in a win over Young Coggs Prep on 14-of-18 from the field. Dilling notched 28 points on 9-of-18 from the field in a win over Fond du Lac High School. He picked up 28 points on 10-of-16 from the field in a win over Kaukauna High School. Dilling notched 14.8 points per game as a junior for Oshkosh North High School. He shot 85.5 percent from the charity stripe, and 45.4 percent from behind the three-point line. He also averaged 2.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per tilt. He was a First Team All-League selection. He helped lead the Spartans to a 13-11 mark during his senior season. Dilling is a two-time captain for Oshkosh North High School. He was a First Team All-Fox Valley Association pick as a senior. Dilling was selected as a Second Team All-Fox Valley Association selection during his junior season. He was an All-Area Honorable Mention pick during his senior slate.
“I have been aware of Josh for quite a long time,” Head Coach Dan Weisse said. “He is from my hometown but goes to the rival high school. I broke my 20-year ban on recruiting players at Oshkosh North it looks like,” Weisse said jokingly. “Josh is a great kid that brings a big upside to us. He is one of the best guards in one of the best high school leagues in Wisconsin. He can really shoot it, he has a good handle, he has length, and he has a frame that can get bigger and stronger. He is a high character guy and I’m very excited to be able to coach him for the next four years.”
He plans to major in business administration at UMC. Dilling is the son of Al and Mary Ann Dilling. His cousin Jim Dilling was the former head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Jim Dilling competed in football and track and field at Minnesota State. Josh Dilling’s brother-in-law Connor McGovern competes in the National Football League for the New York Jets. He used to play for the Denver Broncos and played college football at the University of Missouri. Dilling earned placement on the Highest Honor Roll. He has two sisters, Alex (30) and Devin (27), and a niece (Keegan) and nephew (Leo). He also has a golden retriever named Timber.
Jaylen James (G, 6-1 175, Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview H.S.)
James played for the No. 2 ranked team in Minnesota in Class AAAA, as they posted a 24-4 mark on the year while playing in the South Suburban Conference. James was a 1,000 point scorer for Eastview High School. He averaged 9.1 points per game during the regular season of his senior slate at Eastview. James tallied 19.5 points per tilt in two section playoff games as a senior. As a junior for Eastview, James notched 6.9 points per game in 23 regular-season games. He helped the Lightning to a 10-8 conference record as a junior. He helped the team to the state tournament as a junior. James scored 28 points in a win over Wayzata High School on December 7, 2019. He had 30 points in a section playoff win over Park High School. James had 23 points in a win over Eagan High School January 25, 2019. He added 27 points in a section tournament win over Park High School March 8, 2019. He was a four-year letter winner at Eastview High School. James is a 1,000 point scorer and a three-time All-South Suburban Conference Honorable Mention selection. He helped Eastview High School to a State Tournament appearance.
James is the son of Joey James of Melbourne, Florida, and Jena James of Apple Valley, Minn. He plans to major in sports and rec management at Minnesota Crookston. James was born September 7, 2001. His father, Joey James, was the head coach at Concordia-St. Paul from 2014-19 and University of South Dakota for the 2013-14 season. James is currently an assistant at Florida Tech. His father played basketball at the University of South Dakota.
Ethan Channel (G, 6-4 190, Beaverton, Ore./Portland Community College)
Channel comes to UMC from Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon, where he played his sophomore season. Channel was named a 2019-20 NWAC Southern Region Second Team selection after a strong sophomore season. He was the team’s second-leading scorer with 18.2 points per game. Channel shot 34.9 percent from beyond the arc and tallied 77.7 percent from the charity stripe. He added 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game for the Panthers. Channel scored a season-high 35 points on 13-of-19 from the field in a win over Southwestern Oregon Community College. Channel averaged 26.6 points per game in the last seven tilts of the season. As a freshman in 2017-18, Channel competed for Mt. Hood Community College, where he was a teammate of fellow signee Leonard Dixon. Channel tallied 12.2 points per game and shot 39.3 percent from behind the three-point line. Channel shot 77.9 percent from the foul line as a freshman. He added 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Channel competed as a prep for Aloha High School in Beaverton, Ore. He was named 2017 NWAC Crossover All-Tournament, while at Mount Hood Community College.
“Ethan is a guy I had been following without really knowing it,” Weisse said. “His former and now teammate Leonard Dixon played together at Mount Hood C.C. a few years back and I’m excited to get them back together again. I found out about Ethan through Leonard and I’m really glad I did. After talking with Coach Broadous about Ethan I knew of the kid that he is and that he would be a great fit for our program. Ethan can really play anywhere from point guard to small forward, with his primary position being shooting guard. He is a very smart player that has a good handle, good shot, and has some athleticism. He is also a gym rat. Ethan really provides us with some versatility at the guard spot and we will ask him to do many things. I know he is a team-first guy that is willing to do whatever we ask of him, and is capable of being a very good player in our league. I’m excited to be able to coach Ethan for the next few years and he will be great for our basketball program and University. He is high level on the court and off.”
Channel is the son of Heather and Thomas Channel. He plans to major in marketing at Minnesota Crookston. His father Thomas Channel played at Mount Hood Community College and Boston University. His father was drafted in the third round of the 1979 NBA Draft by the San Diego Clippers, and played overseas for basketball. His father also played minor league baseball as an outfielder from 1975-77 in the Minnesota Twins minor league system. Thomas Channel was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round of the 1974 MLB June Amateur Draft. His dad averaged 19.3 points per game during the 1978-79 season for Boston University. His aunt Lisa Channel was a student-athlete at Oregon State University.
Leonard Dixon (F, 6-7 200, Damascus, Ore./Mount Hood Community College)
Dixon comes to UMC from Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore. Dixon was named an NWAC All-Southern Region First Team selection during his sophomore season. He was the leading scorer for the Saints during the 2019-20 season, tallying 19.3 points per game. Dixon shot 43.6 percent from behind the three-point line and 82.4 percent from the foul line. He added 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Dixon notched a season-high 39 points on 15-of-21 from the field, and 9-of-13 from beyond the arc against Chemeketa Community College. He had 34 points on 10-of-19 from the field, and 5-of-11 from behind the three-point line against Portland Community College. As a freshman, Dixon started 14 games and played in 26. He notched 10.0 points per game and shot 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. Dixon added 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per tilt. He tallied 22 points in his first-ever collegiate game at Everett Community College. Dixon competed as a prep for Sam Barlow High School in Gresham, Ore.
Dixon plans to major in sports and recreation management at Minnesota Crookston. He was born November 25, 1999.