The Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's basketball team is pleased to announce that it has signed eight players who will join the Cougars for the 2001-2002 season primarily with the reinstated junior varsity program.
Stephen Graves, Raynard Martin, Jeremy Underwood, David O'Toole, Nick Wagoner, Brent Rossman, Bryan Wyant, and Jay Runyan have each signed letters of intent to further their education and continue their basketball careers at MVNC.
"With reinstating the junior varsity program, we are able to bring in more freshmen this year than we have in the past," said MVNC head coach Scott Flemming. "This should help us be competitive with the many schools that have had junior varsity programs. It not only allows these young men to play at the college level, but I believe that out of this group there could be several that will contribute later on at the varsity level."
Graves, a 6-foot point guard from West Chester, Ohio, averaged 11.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game as a senior at Lakota East High School He also shot 81 percent at the free throw line as he was named to the Greater Miami Conference Second Team, the All-Butler Second Team, the All-District Honorable Mention Team, and the Division I Honorable Mention Team by the Cincinnati Enquirer. He holds the school records for most steals in a game (5), most assists in a game (15), most assists in a season (109), and most assists in a career (152).
Martin, a 5-foot-8 guard from Morgantown, West Virginia, averaged 6.7 points, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game as a senior at University High School. He also shot 80.4 percent from the charity stripe, and he set a school record by making 64 consecutive free throws during a team free throw shooting contest. He was named to the Sectional All-Tournament Team as a senior.
Underwood, a 6-foot-5 forward from Bluffton, Ohio, averaged 10.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game as a senior at Cory-Rawson High School. He also shot 57.6 percent from the field as he was named to the Blanchard Valley Conference Third Team, the All-Northwest Ohio Honorable Mention Team, and the District 8 All-Star Team.
O'Toole, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Glencoe, Kentucky, averaged 15 points, seven assists, and four rebounds per game as a senior at Heritage Academy. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Team and selected to play in the Northern Kentucky East/West All-Star Game.
Wagoner, a 6-foot-1 guard from Ashland, Kentucky, helped Russell High School to a 22-8 record this past season. He was instrumental in leading the Red Devils to an 11-0 home record and an unbeaten mark in the Eastern Kentucky Conference (10-0). The team also won the district title and made a final four appearance in the regional tournament. For his efforts, Wagoner was named to the Honorable Mention All-EKC Team.
Rossman, a 6-foot-3 forward from Eaton, Ohio, averaged 2.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game as a senior at Eaton High School. He also shot 45 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line.
Wyant, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Elida, Ohio, averaged 9.0 points, 5.1 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game as a senior at Temple Christian High School. He also shot 40 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Meanwhile, Runyan, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Charleston, West Virginia, wrapped up his career at George Washington High School.
MVNC is coming off an 18-15 season - the team's fifth straight season with at least 18 wins. The Cougars also finished 10-8 in the highly-competitive American Mideast Conference, and the team advanced to the AMC Tournament semifinals for the fifth straight year.