By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~
The Musketeers have high expectations for the redshirt seniors forward RaShid Gaston and guard Malcolm Bernard. Both players will be valuable additions to the men’s team after transferring to Xavier, with Gaston arriving last season from Norfolk State and sitting out a year and Bernard arriving this season after graduating from Florida A&M.
Gaston played three seasons at Norfolk State in Virginia. His freshman year, he was a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) All-Rookie team, winning the Rookie of the Week honor four times. The big man started 14 games his sophomore year before missing 13 games due to a knee injury. Despite the injury, he was able to return and come up big for Norfolk in the MEAC tournament, where he scored 17 points on 6-7 shooting against Maryland Eastern Shore. Gaston made Second Team National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 15 his junior year. He played in 32 games, starting in 28 of them. The forward was second in rebounding with 9.6 rebounds per game.
“I look for defensive rebounds, but I also look for easy points on the offensive side. I like to think of myself as a rebounder,” Gaston said.
The Warren, Ohio, native averaged 15.5 points per game, led his team with a 62.6 shot percentage from the field and recorded 18 double doubles in scoring and rebounding.
Gaston will use his final year of eligibility to play for the Musketeers.
“I’m super excited about getting to play with the guys,” Gaston said. “I’m excited about the pressure on my shoulders.”
Bernard, another transfer, played two seasons at Charleston Southern and another season at Florida A&M University. During the guard’s freshman and sophomore years, he played in 58 games. As a freshman, he put up eight points against Arizona, going two for two behind the arc. As a sophomore he scored a careerhigh 16 points twice. After sitting out the 2014-15 season because of transfer rules, he played in 28 games, staring in 25 of them, and averaged 32.4 minutes per game. Bernard recorded a triple-double against Alcron State, with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He put up a career-high 29 points versus Thomas early on in the season. Although he is currently a graduate student, he is athletically a senior becuase he sat out a season.
“I came here to experience the challenge,” Bernard said. “I’m playing to the best of my ability every time I step on the floor.”