Senior basketball standout Hunter Chastain became the fifth Bear athlete to sign with Bryan College in a little over two months. Hoopsters Keila Formont and Taylor Neuharth, plus super soccer scorer Miles Christian and volleyball spiker Kayla Rymer have all accepted offers from the Dayton school recently.
“It’s a very nice campus with good athletic programs and its not too far from home (about 30 miles), so the family and friends can go watch them play,” commented Bear basketball coach Kent Smith. “It’s a good place for our kids to go.”
A two-year starter for the Bears, Chastain’s numbers were very similar his final two seasons. As a junior the 6-foot-3 swingman hit 52 percent of his field goals, averaging 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. His final season he netted 56 percent for the two-point area, pouring in 508 points at a 15 ppg clip, plus he once again pulled down a half dozen caroms an outing.
“He’s the most improved player I’ve had in my 16 years here,” praised Smith. “He came in as a clumsy freshman, but he worked hard in the weight room and on his ball handling and turned into one of our top players.”
“He’s a very skilled player. A very hard-nosed kid,” declared Don Rekoske, who is in eighth year at the Bryan helm. “I like the way he plays the game. He’s my type of player and has a bright future at Bryan.”
The Lions lost just one player off last year’s 13-18 team that finished fourth in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. “A few years ago we were winning our conference but then we lost 10 players, so we have been rebuilding the last couple of years,” explained Rekoske.
Bradley went 48-16 the past two seasons with Chastain as one of the key players, advancing to the TSSAA substate this past season and just missing out on a state tournament bid.
“It was great getting to play for Bradley, a team I grew up watching while they were having all the success of going to the state tournament year after year,” Chastain stated. “Watching guys like Josh and Justin Hare, Terrance Oglesby, and the rest of those guys just made me want to play here as well.”
“I’m excited about going to play at Bryan. I feel like I’ll fit in there,” he added. “Plus I have a lot of friends going there, so there’ll be plenty of people I know.”
A 3.2 GPA student, Chastain hopes to study sports medicine while attending Bryan.