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|Stewart signs with Northwestern|
Vidalia High senior Gary Stewart signed a basketball scholarship with Northwestern State in Natchitoches today (Wednesday).
"I am glad to get that over with," Stewart said. "It had been a burden with people calling during the year. It got pretty tough. At times I stopped answering the phone."
Stewart said his final two choices were Northwestern and Louisiana Tech. He also received offers from Southeastern Louisiana, Grambling, Southern and Marquette.
"I just felt real comfortable when I went and visited Northwestern," Stewart said. "I like the coaches and the players and they seemed real close. The atmosphere reminded me a lot of Vidalia
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Stewart, was named MVP of the Class 3A State Championship Game as Vidalia defeated Carroll for the state title in March.
Stewart averaged 17 points, 10 assists and 7.7 rebounds a game during the season.
"It was a great way to end high school," Stewart said of the state championship.
Northwestern State head coach Mike McConathy said Stewart is a winner on and off the floor.
"Gary brings something to our team that we've been missing," McConathy said. "He can do a lot of different things. The thing that impresses the most about Gary from watching him is that he makes everyone around him better. That's a rare commodity. It's easy to go out and find somebody averaging 20-to-25 points. The thing I look for is what impact does a player have on everybody on the team. Gary makes everyone around him better. That's the kind of player you want."
McConathy is also impressed with Stewart's 4.0 grade point average.
"Gary has the whole package," said the Demon coach. "He takes care of his business. And he worked hard in the weight room in football, so we know he will be dedicated to our weight program."
McConathy said Stewart will have an opportunity to play next year and can any position.
"The thing about Gary is he handles the ball well so if the other team has a big guard we can put him at point guard," McConathy said. "Or we can play high-low with him because he is such a great passer. We believe Gary can come in and bring us immediate help."
McConathy said he has enjoyed getting to know Gary through the recruiting process.
"Gary has a great family unit to support him and help his development continue. We are also excited to get another student-athlete that has been part of a great high school program with solid coaching. The foundation that they have helped lay will ultimately give him a jump start on his college career."
Stewart said he feels he can contribute next season.
"I'd like to play any kind of guard position," he said. "I need to work more on moving without the ball and working off of picks. I also have to work more on my defense."
Stewart also played football at Vidalia.
"I think it helped make me more mentally tough and get used to taking a beating," he said. "It also helped as far as working more in the weight room. I just need to continue working hard on and off the court."
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