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College basketball: Massner on the move from Louisiana to Western Illinois



MONROE, La. – Trenton Massner is on the move.

Massner, a first-team all-state guard for the Wapello High School boys basketball team who helped the Indians to the state tournament in 2018, decided it was time to get back closer to his roots after spending the last two seasons at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

In a quick turnaround, Massner put his name in the transfer portal and earlier this week accepted an offer to play for Western Illinois University for the 2021-22 season.

Instead of taking 14 hours to drive 864 miles to the Northwestern State campus, Massner now will only have to spend 1 1/2 hours to drive 80 miles to Macomb, Illinois.

In the end, the prospect of being closer to home and the possibility of playing point guard for the Leathernecks was just too good for Massner to pass up.

“I just wanted to get closer to home. It’s something I’ve been contemplating all year,” Massner said. “I think the whole COVID thing made my decision a lot easier. Hopefully now I will be a lot closer to home and my family and friends can come over and watch me play. I wanted to get closer to home.”

Massner, a 6-foot-2 junior who has two years of eligibility remaining, earned second-team All-Southland Conference honors for his on-court performance this season. He averaged 13.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He was named Southland Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 1 after averaging 19.5 points per game to help lead the Demons to a pair of wins against New Orleans and Central Arkansas.

Massner was chosen to the Southland Conference All-Academic first team on Tuesday, becoming the first Demon to do so since Ishmael Lane in 2018-19. Massner, a business administration major, carries a 3.62 grade point average and was a member of the 2020 Southland Conference Commissioner’s Spring Honor Roll in his first year of competition at Northwestern State.

Massner led Northwestern State in scoring and steals (35) while ranking second in shooting (49.3 percent), third in rebounding and blocked shots (11) and fourth in made 3-pointers (33). In conference play, Massner performed even better, shooting 53.5 percent from the field, fifth-best in the conference and 37.7 percent from 3-point range. Massner averaged 14.4 points per game in conference play and handed out nearly three assists per game while grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game.

In the Demons’ two Southland Conference games, Massner averaged 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game as Northwestern State reached the tournament semifinals.

Massner will join a Western Illinois team which went 7-15 overall and 5-9 in Summit League play this past season under first-year head coach Rob Jeter. Harmony High School and Southeastern Community College graduate Chad Boudreau is the associate head coach for the Leathernecks.

Western Illinois had two seniors and two graduate students on its 2020-21 roster.

Massner is looking forward to joining a WIU program which is on the way up.

“I like a challenge and I like the challenge of turning around a program which hasn’t had much success lately,” Massner said. “For me it really was a no-brainer.”

Massner averaged 22.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.8 steals for Wapello in 2017-18, helping the Indians to their first state tournament since 1994 under head coach Ken Spielbauer.

The following year, Massner averaged 8.4 points and shot 44.6 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line for SCC under head coach Lorenzo Watkins.

The chance to play point guard for the first time since his days at Wapello was just too much for Massner to turn down.

“I really like the fact that I will have a chance to play point guard for the first time since high school. That’s something that I really love,” Massner said. “I think I fit in really well there and the league they play in is really good.”

Massner will make one final drive to Louisiana next week to finish up classes for the spring semester, then move back home and get ready to pick things up at Western Illinois.

“I will start in the fall semester, or the summer if they want me to come over then,” Massner said. “Things will be a lot more convenient for me being closer to home.”