Former Canyon View High basketball star signs to play at Westminster College

CEDAR CITY — Former Canyon View High basketball star Brantzen Blackner has formally signed to play for Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

Brantzen Blackner and girlfriend Josie Holt, shortly after he signed to play basketball for Salt Lake City’s Westminster College, Cedar City, Utah, June 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Blackner, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who graduated from CVHS in 2018 and then played two years at Snow College in Ephraim, signed the official paperwork Friday afternoon while surrounded by around two dozen family members and friends at Cedar City’s Pizza Factory restaurant.

After welcoming those in attendance, Brantzen’s father, Kim Blackner, said that while his son’s initial decision to attend Snow was “driven by basketball,” there were other factors that weighed in his son’s decision to accept Westminster’s scholarship offer, including the institution’s highly regarded academic programs.

Additionally, Brantzen wanted to remain in-state to be closer to family, his father said, noting that his son had fielded multiple offers from both Division I and Division II schools, ranging from Rhode Island to Alaska. Another factor in Brantzen’s choosing to stay in Utah is his girlfriend Josie Holt, whom he met while they were at Snow together. Holt will be attending Utah Valley University in Orem starting in the fall. 

Former Canyon View High and Snow College basketball player Brantzen Blackner officially signs to play for Westminster College on scholarship, Cedar City, Utah, June 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

As a sophomore at Snow, Brantzen Blackner started all 32 games for the Badgers, averaging 9.9 points per game. As a junior college transfer, he will have two years of eligibility at Westminster, where he plans to further his studies as a business major with a minor in sports management. 

Due to NCAA rules, Westminster coaches and officials were unable to participate in Friday’s signing event. However, Kim Blackner did note that Westminster head coach Norm Parrish and his staff had been persistent in trying to land Brantzen on their team.

“He said, ‘I will do whatever I have to do to get you to come here … I’ll even change the school colors if I have to,’” Kim Blackner quoted Parrish as saying. “Brantzen said, ‘I actually really love purple, so I’m fine with that.”

“We just talked on the phone, and he’s got the same expectations, the same competitiveness, the same drive I have,” Brantzen Blackner said of Parrish. “He wants to win, and I’m not going there to settle for anything less.”

Brantzen Blackner (center) is flanked by family members (L-R: Kim Blackner, Jeanette Blackner, Josie Holt, Tayzha Huxford and Koy Huxford) shortly after signing to play basketball for Salt lake City’s Westminster College, Cedar City, Utah, June 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Brantzen Blackner added that he was coached as a 10-year-old at the AAU level by Pat Amico, now one of Parrish’s assistant coaches at Westminster, and has kept in touch with Amico over the years.

Westminster is one of 16 Division II schools comprising the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the same conference that Dixie State University is departing from this year as DSU moves up to Division I. 

After thanking his family members and other supporters, Brantzen Blackner invited them “to come up to Salt Lake and make some noise” at the Griffins’ games.

Blackner added that two of his Snow College teammates, Taylor Miller and Brayden Johnson, have also committed to play for Westminster as juco transfers.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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