Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's basketball coach Scott Flemming has got a smile on his face that goes from ear to ear. That's because his Cougars are off to a 7-1 start this season, including seven straight victories. But more importantly, he just solidified his team's future by signing current Marion Elgin High School standout Andy Gast to a letter of intent to continue his education and play basketball at MVNC.
Gast, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, has enjoyed tremendous success in high school. So much so, that college coaches have been at his beck and call. The Prospect, Ohio, native averaged 21 points and hauled down four rebounds per game last season as a junior. He also contributed three assists and two steals per contest in leading his team to the regional semifinals of the Division III state tournament.
For his efforts, Gast was a Division III Honorable Mention All-Ohio selection. He was also named to the Central District First Team, the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference First Team, and the All-County First Team. He has helped his team to a 42-6 mark over the past two seasons, which include back-to-back MOAC championships.
"Andy is not only a player that I think can make an immediate contribution to our program, but he is an outstanding young man off the court as well," said Flemming. "He will fit well with our system of play. He is a great three-point shooter and is at home with our up-tempo style of basketball."
For Gast, it was a tough decision to make, yet he knew that it was a choice he needed to make due to the fact that so many coaches were calling and writing him letters. "I chose Mount Vernon for various reasons," said Gast. "I looked at many different schools throughout the last couple of months and MVNC stood head and shoulders above the rest."
Gast was impressed with the college as a whole, but seemed more impressed with his future collegiate mentor. "The education offered at MVNC is second to none," he said. "I am really excited to continue my education and furthermore grow and mature as an individual at MVNC. Coach Flemming also played a huge role in my decision to come to MVNC. I liked his personality and I understand and respect his expectations for his players as student-athletes."
Gast's toughness will be put to the test in the rugged and athletic Mid-Ohio Conference in which the Cougars play. However, Coach Flemming feels that Gast will not have a problem with being physical.
"His experience as a football quarterback will help prepare him for the intensity of the college game," said Flemming. "Andy will be able to play either the shooting guard or small forward position."