THREE FORKS — Payden Lynn has a state track meet to focus on this weekend, and then he’ll turn his full attention to playing basketball at the next level. The Three Forks senior signed a letter of intent Tuesday to play for Montana State University-Billings.
Lynn earned All-State honors while averaging 11.8 points per game this past season in District 5B. Three Forks finished 7-3 in league play and 17-8 overall.
Lynn also helped the Wolves reach the state Class B tournament in each of the past two years, but had both of those seasons cut short due to injuries suffered at the divisional tournament. It was a frustrating end to Lynn’s prep career, but now he’s hoping to write a new chapter with the Yellowjackets.
“They’ve bred a culture that the people that work hard play,” said Lynn. “So I’m really excited to put some work in maybe earn a starting position in a couple years.”
MSU-Billings is led by Mick Durham, a Three Forks native, and Lynn noted he developed a great rapport with the veteran coach during the recruiting process.
“Really excited to play for coach Durham. “Great guy, love talking to him, and really can’t wait to play for him.”
Durham, who is a former head coach of the men’s program at Montana State University, guided the Yellowjackets to a 15-14 record this past season in his first year at the helm. It was the program’s first winning season in seven years, and MSU-Billings finished 10-10 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference en route to qualifying for the conference tournament.
“I really like coach Durham and I just saw it as the best opportunity for a place of growth,” said Lynn. “I’ve heard from multiple people that they’re going to take care of me. They’re going to make me work hard.”
Lynn is also an accomplished javelin thrower, sprinter and jumper for Three Forks’ track team, which will compete in the state Class B meet in Kalispell. Lynn explored the opportunity of competing in that sport too, but his passion is basketball.
“I talked a little bit to the track coach too and that was a possibility for me. I had some offers for track and talked to some coaches, but basketball’s always kind of been my sport,” said Lynn. “I’ve always loved it. There’s something different about it and I’ve always loved playing basketball. Track, yeah I enjoy it too, but not quite that much.”
Lynn plans to study business management with an emphasis in sports.
“I’d eventually like to be a sports agent,” he said. “I’d like to get my graduate degree eventually in law and that’s kind of the path I would take to do that.”