HOT: Northwest Nazarene’s Scott Flemming takes over NBA India; assistant Paul Rush named interim head coach

Coach Scott Flemming’s passion to lead landed him at Northwest Nazarene University two years ago, and now has earned him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The head coach for the Crusader men’s basketball program for the last two seasons is stepping away from the sidelines on the NNU campus to begin a new role as the Senior Director for Basketball Operations for NBA India.

Flemming’s new opportunity opens the door for Crusaders top assistant and director of recruiting, Paul Rush, who will take over immediately as Interim Head Coach for the men’s basketball program.

“Coach Rush has been a vital leader and assistant to Coach Flemming for the past two seasons and will provide great continuity as the program undergoes this change,” NNU athletic director Kelli Lindley said, adding “we will spend the next few weeks going through a process of evaluation and expect to name a new head coach by September 1.”

Classes begin Aug. 29 with the NNU men’s basketball team opening its 2017-18 season on Nov. 10 when the Crusaders host Multnomah for Homecoming at 8 p.m. at the Johnson Sports Center.

Flemming, who brought 21 years of collegiate coaching experience with him to Nampa, took over the Crusader program in May of 2015 and in two seasons guided NNU to a 20-32 overall record, and a tie for sixth place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings this past winter.

“I believe we have moved the program in the right direction,” Coach Flemming said. “With our great recruiting class, along with key returning players, I truly believe the team will be able to take it to another level this next season.”

Prior to taking over the NNU program, Flemming was the head of the India National Men’s Basketball team for three years.

“This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make,” said Flemming, who will manage basketball operation initiatives for the NBA throughout India, which includes identifying talent, developing coaches, and oversight of the NBA Academy. “My plan was to stay at NNU and build a program. I wasn’t interested in any other college coaching positions.

“When the NBA approached me about applying for this position I felt like I needed to be open to it. I have loved being at NNU, but when they offered me a chance to work for the NBA and do it in a country that my wife and I really have a heart for, I eventually came to the point, with much prayer and counsel, that I felt led to pursue this opening.”

Along with managing basketball operations, Flemming will be involved in hosting up-coming events that include the Global Games, Basketball without Borders, and an NBA exhibition game in India.

“We are very excited for Coach Flemming as he embarks on an incredible career opportunity, and we are grateful for his guidance and leadership over the past two seasons,” Lindley said. “Scott set a strong standard of excellence, both on the court and off for his program, which exemplify the standards of NNU as a whole.”

Coach Flemming added: “I want to thank Kelli Lindley, President Joel Pearsall, and the loyal supporters of the basketball program for allowing me this great opportunity. I really appreciate the NNU community and will always cherish the friends that I have made here. I know there are great days ahead for this program and the university.”

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