NATCHITOCHES – Swingman Vontay Ott, who averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds and led his California high school team to its greatest season as a senior, became the first spring signee in the 2016-17 Northwestern State basketball recruiting class on Wednesday.
Ott led his Hesperia (Cal.) High School team to a 47-11 record in his final two seasons, 23-7 in 2016-17 as HHS made the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs for the first time in school history.
The 6-4 guard/wing player was first-team All CIF-Southern Section in Division 3A and has already been chosen as Hesperia’s “Male Athlete of the Year.”
Ott helped his team to Mojave River League championships in 2016 and 2016, winning league MVP honors as a junior and repeating as a first-team MRL selection as a senior. His team was 20-0 in MRL play in his final two seasons.
“It’s a great day to add someone with all the winning characteristics both on and off the court that Vontay possesses,” said Demons’ head coach Mike McConathy, who will enter his 19th season in charge of the NSU program next November. “Vontay is a young man that is very committed to getting better and hungry to learn in order to be great. The leadership qualities he developed in high school will carry over into our culture. ‘Championship Basketball with a Purpose’ is the theme of our program and he checks off all the boxes that fall under that checklist.”
Ott was an explosive player for Hesperia coach Calvin Tang. He had single-game highs of 30 points and 24 rebounds.
“Vontay has the ability to make plays in the open court as well as the halfcourt with his high-level athleticism. We like versatile players and he can play several positions in our system,” said McConathy. “He is a lefty with a shifty gear that makes plays at the rim. Defensively, he is long armed and plays very aggressive which fits our pressing style of play.”
Ott joins three members of NSU’s 2016-17 recruiting class who signed in November: 6-8, 265-pound post player Larry Owens of Monroe-Carroll, guard C.J. Jones of Monroe-Wossman, and swingman Caleb Starks from Lafayette Christian.
McConathy said Ott’s foundation with family, coaches and mentors positions him for success with the Demons.
“Vontay has been surrounded by great people which has led to all his accomplishments. His parents (Brickey Moore and Jimmy Ott), Coach Calvin Tang, and Pat Pruitt as well as many others have helped prepare him for the great opportunity ahead of him at NSU,” said McConathy. “Vontay has a bright future. He fits perfectly into our championship tradition.”
Additional members of the Class of 2016-17 are anticipated, he said.
The Demons are aiming for their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance this century next season, and their third NCAA Tournament victory. NSU has seven Southland Conference Tournament championship game appearances under McConathy, who has seen 90 percent of his players graduate.