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Nick Faust embraces new opportunity at LBSU

After a rough start with head coach Dan Monson, the Maryland native embraces a fresh start with the 49ers and the urgency to create a legacy.

Senior+guard+Nick+Faust+averaged+9.3+points%2C+2.2+assists+and+3.8+rebounds+per+game+in+his+first+three+years+at+Maryland+before+transferring+to+Long+Beach+State.+Trang+Le+%7C+Daily+49er
Senior guard Nick Faust averaged 9.3 points, 2.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game in his first three years at Maryland before transferring to Long Beach State. Trang Le | Daily 49er

Senior guard Nick Faust averaged 9.3 points, 2.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game in his first three years at Maryland before transferring to Long Beach State. Trang Le | Daily 49er

Trang Le | Daily 49er

Trang Le | Daily 49er

Senior guard Nick Faust averaged 9.3 points, 2.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game in his first three years at Maryland before transferring to Long Beach State. Trang Le | Daily 49er

Joshua Caudill, Staff Writer

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Whistles echo throughout the Walter Pyramid. The sound of players’ sneakers squeak across the floor while head coach Dan Monson commands his troops.

It’s “Free Throw Friday.”

One player can be heard louder than the rest. He’s amped. He’s in good spirits, clapping for his teammates, cheering them to make their free throw and avoid a down and back sprint. His teammate makes it.

With his thin frame, sporting No. 2 on the gold Long Beach State jersey, he takes the ball and steps to the free throw line. He stares at the rim with the upmost assurance. He already knows the outcome.

He makes it.

This is fifth-year senior Nick Faust.

Originally hailing from Baltimore, Faust was the hometown kid who spent three years at the University of Maryland where he put up 944 points. However, in the spring of 2014, Faust wanted a fresh new start and sought his release to sign with a new team.

“We kind of stumbled on him,” Monson said. “I didn’t even know his name. I never even watched him play but at the same time in April when Nick committed to Oregon State, we had an opening here and we hired assistant coach Myke Scholl, which recruited Nick in high school. When OSU fired Craig Robinson, Nick opened his recruitment up and Coach Scholl said he had the perfect guy.”

Faust certainly welcomed trading in the brutally cold winters of Maryland for the great weather and beaches of Southern California. He saw this opportunity as a rebirth for his career and with that came change. After wearing No. 5 in Maryland, the No.2 on his 49ers jersey became symbolic.

‘This is my second time making my big mark. My junior year [high school] I made a big jump I wasn’t really rated and I put in a lot of work that summer and after one weekend with Boo Williams I was rated the No. 16 player in the country,” Faust said. “So this is kind of my second time to really prove a lot of people wrong and make another jump again.”

His family stayed behind in Baltimore but like a lot of college students away from their families, it didn’t seem to bother Faust in the slightest.

“I don’t get homesick. I’m focused,” Faust said. “It’s all about business this year and getting the job done.”

Despite playing in the highly competitive ACC and for a traditional power, Faust has yet to play in the NCAA tournament. It’s become his “holy grail” and that driving force inside of him.

“The ultimate goal is to make it to the NCAA tournament,” Faust said. “I feel as though if everyone on the team is doing their job and if I take care of my job and everything should fall into place.”

Coach Monson believes Nick wanted to go to a program where he could make a significant impact and be a featured player and where the outcome relies on him. He didn’t want to go to another Maryland where there may be five or six guys that are just like him. He wanted to be challenged. It gave him an assurance that he was needed at LBSU and gave him an opportunity on the big stage to play the nation’s best teams on national television.

The relationship between coach and player has its ups and downs just like anything that involves the process of mentoring young people but the investment is expected to pay off dividends.

“Nick and I have come a long ways,” Monson said. “This time last year we didn’t see eye-to-eye. We didn’t have the same vision for our program and his career. I’m just very proud of how coachable he has been in a year and now he’s a captain. I could have never imagined trusting him to be a captain a year ago.

“He’s got that urgency to have the best year. I see urgency in Nick every day to maximize his opportunities here. Nobody works harder than him and that’s contagious when your fifth year captain has that attitude every day.”

During Faust’s 2014-2015 redshirt season he had to sit out per NCAA rules and view the game from the sideline as his team struggled but he believes it was for the best to progress his game.

“I appreciate sitting out last year. I got to see a lot of things differently from the sideline, which made me better,” Faust said. “Coach Monson really believes in his guys. He feeds you a lot of positivity but he also lets you know the negative side and learn and grow as a player. That’s what I did for about a year and a half redshirting. Coach just coached me through all of my mistakes, and [I] became a better player over time. He’s got great confidence in me.”

Faust, the guy whose teammates have grown accustomed to his pre-game ritual of eating Skittles, will be heavily relied upon to provide the offensive prowess for LBSU this season. The former 2012 All-ACC Freshman team member once dropped 17 points on a North Carolina team equipped with multiple NBA players. That’s the type of impact Faust has showcased.

Although his favorite player is Houston Rockets’ James Harden, coach Monson sees shades of a former 49ers star in the senior.

“As I told a pro scout, I think he’s got James Ennis’ ability and athleticism,” Monson said. “I really think he has some good qualities that are going to make him some good money if he continues to go where he’s at whether that’s in the NBA or overseas. You can’t teach guys at 6-foot-6 to have the explosiveness he has and Nick is also a very good defender.”

Faust knows this is his last shot to make his mark on a collegiate career he isn’t satisfied with quite yet. The redshirt senior is focused on a Big West title, an NCAA tournament appearance and a chance to showcase his talents against one of the nation’s toughest schedules.

“We have a legacy here,” Faust said. “We just have to build on it.”

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