Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 25, 2014

Yost to keep 'Bluefield' on his chest

BLUEFIELD — Sometime next month, Michael Yost will take off his Bluefield High School basketball jersey, and his prep career will be over.

But he plans on still playing with “Bluefield” on his chest.

The senior, a key member of the 2013 state champions, signed an agreement on Monday at the BHS media center to continue his hoops career as a Bluefield College Ram.

“I love the game, and now I get to enjoy it on the college level,” he said.

Picking among several college programs “was kind of hard,” he said. “I had some full-rides here and there, but it’s for my family. They enjoy (watching) me playing basketball, and I want them to watch me as much as they can. So I went with Bluefield College.

“It’s close to home, got that home feeling, got the ‘Bluefield’ on my chest, and it feels pretty good.”

“Hopefully, the fans will come out and watch me play at Bluefield College, bring a lot of support to Bluefield College, and it’ll be good for the program.”

Bluefield College head coach Richard Morgan, who joined in the signing ceremony, said, “We’re looking for big things out of him. We think we’re getting a good player.”

Topping Morgan’s checklist was “his toughness, his ability to defend. We talk about defending in our program, (and) I think that defense is important to him.”

“You watch him play, and it looks like he takes advantage of his abilities to play defense. And the fact that (opponents) forget about him on offense and let him shoot his wide-open threes.”

“The main thing is, he’s tough and he’s coming from a great program, and any time you can get those things, you’ve got to do it,” he said. “This was the right fit.”

Morgan said he tries to avoid labeling incoming players, “so we’re going to leave him as ‘a player,’ ” the coach said. “He’s going to come in and get in where he can fit in. We’re going to play him as much as we can, and hopefully we can get the fans to come out and watch his many games.”

The coach noted, “We like getting local talent. We’ve done a good job of getting local guys.”

Yost’s father Steve Yost Sr. said, “Playing at Bluefield College, he’ll be part of a good athletic program. We’re excited that they wanted Michael to play for them.”

Karen Yost, the signee’s mother, said, “It’s also a great college as far as academics go. We’re really happy with his choice.”

Steve Yost Sr. added, “And it’s Baptist. And I’m a Baptist.”

Michael Yost said about BC being a Christian college, “I’m really comfortable there. You’ve got to have God in your life. Hopefully, God will come into my life and make me a stronger man, in basketball and outside of basketball.”

Regarding his studies in college, he said, “I’ll probably major in sports medicine or business, management. I haven’t decided, but it’s a really good school, and hopefully it’ll help me throughout the future.”

Bluefield High head coach Buster Large said, “I’m really happy for him and his family. He’s worked hard to get this opportunity, and move on to the second level — and most importantly, get a college education at a local college.

“And for a lot of fans here in the Bluefield area, everyone will get a chance to watch him play.”

“I really think a lot of Coach Morgan and the program he’s put together. He’s getting just an outstanding basketball player.

“He (Yost) has so valuable to us, in a lot of different ways — leadership, a great defensive player. He’s just an outstanding student-athlete and a very good Bluefield High School student,” Large said.

“He’s been so instrumental to our program the last three years, the success that we’ve had. ... He’s been out a few games with an ankle injury, but you can tell immediately the impact he has had on our program since he has come back, in the last three games.”

Michael Yost said he has been a frequent visitor to the Dome Gymnasium to watch BC basketball.

“I love it there, the fans, the teammates — I’m real close to some of them,” he said. “The coaches, they treat me like family, so I really love Bluefield College.”

“I think I fit in pretty good. I like their fast-tempo game, so hopefully (I will play) run-and-gun, spot up, play defense, and hopefully bring something to the team.”

That hope is alive despite Yost missing several games this season.

“I had two ankle injuries this year, and it’s been pretty hard to get through,” the newest Ram said. “I thought I was going to lose some colleges, here and there. But Bluefield College, they held on to me and had faith in me, so, hopefully, I’ll go there and play basketball.”

The media center got more crowded as six more members of the 2014 Beavers filed in to support their teammate on his big day.

“It really meant a lot to me,” Yost said. “We’re all a family, so when one does something, we all do it. It’s all being part of the family.”

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com

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