Cayden Merchant: Basketball, But So Much More!
If you follow Billings Central Ram’s basketball, you know Cayden Merchant. Cayden is leader and senior on this year’s Men’s Rams squad.
Speaking of one of his fellow seniors, “Brock is terrible, he was supposed to help me!” Cayden says with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face – knowing fellow Senior Brock Blatter is focused on his future baseball career at the University of Alabama.
Cayden transferred to Billings Central during his junior year. It was a welcome return to Catholic schools for Cayden, a member of the Crow and Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, as he attended St. Charles School in Pryor through 2nd grade. Cayden moved to Billings after and attended public schools until last year. His previous school, “just wasn’t a good fit,” he said.
Cayden is now a second-generation Central student. His father, Darcy Merchant, won a championship for Central’s 1995-1996 state championship team as a sophomore starter on the team. Of course, Cayden matched his father right away with 2021’s state basketball championship. He looks to one-up his father this year. But he knows it’s a tough road with a newer team and only one senior – him!
But as Cayden talks more, it becomes clear basketball is not his primary motivation in life. When asked if he is being recruited to play college ball, Cayden has no interest, “I don’t plan on playing basketball after high school.”
For him, academics come first, “I take more after my mom,” Cayden says, “She always pushes me academically, that’s part of the reason I came to Central.”
He mentions the small class sizes, the high expectations, and the relationships he has with his teachers like Mr. Fairbanks. Cayden is currently taking Western Civilization – a college dual-credit class. In fact, Cayden takes all the honors and dual-credit classes he can. Currently, he is sporting a 3.9 GPA. By the time he graduates high school this spring, he expects to have 20 colleges credits under his belt!
When speaking of his future, Cayden plans to attend MSU Bozeman. He is interested in becoming a pediatrician. “I love my little siblings, I love little kids, they’re just fun!” he says, “I’d love a career where I get to work with kids.”
And family is never far from Cayden’s mind – his parents, little brothers and sister. It’s why he chose MSU Bozeman to stay close. After all, his little brother Darcy Jr. is a freshman at Central next year. Don’t be surprised to see Cayden in the stands cheering!