Created on Thursday, 25 April 2013 Written by MATT HAMMOND
Matt Gump is meticulous in the way he approaches his school work and basketball. He used the same type of approach when selecting a college.
Gump, a basketball standout at Bellefontaine, went through a lengthy and in-depth search to find a school to further his academic and basketball careers. The process came to an end earlier this week when he decided on Centre College in Danville, Ky.
“Centre is a great academic school and when it is all said and done, I will have a great degree,” said Gump. “The basketball coaches and the players I met are all great people. I felt like I really fit in there. It felt like home.”
Centre competes at the NCAA Division III level. Gump had his pick from a large number of outstanding Division III basketball programs. He whittled his choices down to Wittenberg, Ohio Wesleyan, Defiance, Marietta and Centre before eventually deciding on the Kentucky school.
“This is a great fit for Matt,” said Bellefontaine head coach Henry Stolly. “Matt is an outstanding student and he will be going to a school that is known for its academics. He will get a first-class education. From a basketball standpoint, he is going to have an opportunity to make an early impact there.”
Gump was a four-year varsity standout for the Chiefs. The 6-4 guard attracted the attention of numerous college coaches with his versatility and his knowledge of the game.
A player who can handle the ball, shoot from the outside and also get to the basket, Gump was recruited to play at a wing position by Centre coach Greg Mason.
“Matt is a talented wing who can do a lot of things,” said Mason. “He brings a lot of things to the table. He has good size, he has a great skill set and he has a great passion for the game. We also really like his basketball IQ. He really understands how to play the game.”
Despite missing 10 games because of a broken bone in his hand, Gump averaged 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a senior.
He was a three-time first-team Central Buckeye Conference selection.
“They are graduating a wing player that did a lot of things for them,” said Stolly. “They feel like Matt can come in and help fill that role. Matt can score outside, he can get the ball inside and he is very good defensively.
“I also know they really liked that Matt is an ultimate team player who has a high basketball IQ.”
Gump constantly works on refining his game. He plans to put even more work in before he gets to Centre.
“The college game is definitely more physical than high school,” he said. “I have to work hard in the weight room to get stronger. In college, you have to be a complete player. I am trying to improve in all areas.”
Gump is going to leave big shoes to fill at Bellefontaine, not only for his basketball talents but also for his contributions to the student body.
“I hope our younger kids here see how hard Matt worked in the classroom to earn an opportunity like this,” said Stolly. “He is a National Honor Society student and he has a 3.9 GPA. Being a great student opened up a lot of doors for him.”
Centre’s basketball team is coming off a 21-6 season. The Colonels were the Southern Athletic Association tournament champions and the regular season co-champions.