Stability would not be a term used to describe the basketball career of Andrew Fleming. The 6-foot-6 guard has experienced constant changes of scenery throughout the last four seasons of his career in Nashville.
The former Ensworth High School star has finally found a permanent home back in the Music City as a member of Lipscomb’s 2017-18 basketball team.
Fleming was declared eligible by the NCAA last week, allowing him to fully participate in all games this season.
“I just found out (last Tuesday),” Fleming said. “I kept the faith and I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I have been given.”
Fleming announced his decision to transfer from Chattanooga to Lipscomb via Twitter in early May.
“I love it here and I’ve been through a lot, so I’m glad Coach (Alexander) took a chance on me,” Fleming said. “Faith and values are also very important to me and that made Lipscomb a nice fit.”
Fleming first gained notoriety at Ensworth, where he amassed 1,117 points in three seasons and was named TSSAA DII-AA Mr. Basketball in 2014.
For his senior season, Fleming transferred to Oak Hill Academy, a prestigious prep basketball school in Wilson, Virginia. The school has produced numerous NBA stars including Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley.
Oak Hill allowed Fleming to showcase his talents to college recruiters. He took full advantage of the opportunity by hitting 72 three pointers and leading his team to a 47-1 season record and a runner-up finish in the Dick’s Nationals Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Iowa, Auburn, Florida, Memphis, Nebraska and UNLV were just a few of the many schools that offered Fleming a scholarship. The sharp-shooter decided on the Hawkeyes and spent the 2015-16 season in Iowa City. However, Fleming played in just 11 games and opted to transfer after his freshman year.
“It all happened so fast,” Fleming said. “The situation was, in hindsight, a blessing in disguise. I know now I was meant to be (at Lipscomb).”
Fleming then transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he sat out the 2016-17 season due to NCAA rules. When Moc coach Matt McCall was hired away by UMass, Fleming’s future was again up in the air.
“There was a coaching change, and the new coach came in and didn’t keep many of the guys that were returning,” Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said. “(Fleming) didn’t really have the option to go back and be on scholarship.”
For the first time in four seasons, Fleming has finally found a stable home at Lipscomb, where he has three years of eligibility remaining.
“It’s been a tough journey for him,” Alexander said. “I’m glad that it’s behind him and that he can just focus on being a good player and a good teammate.”
It remains unclear how Fleming will fit into Lipscomb’s rotation, which includes four returning starters. Alexander made it clear that the newcomer will have to earn his spot.
“I think he will be a contributor,” Alexander said. “I think a lot of the answer to (his playing time) is dependent upon how much he wants to be a role player and how much he wants to fit in and earn his space.”
Fleming will make his Lipscomb debut on Nov. 10, when the Bisons play host to Emory University.
“The court is a therapy for me,” Fleming said. “Through the stress and the unknowns, (I’m) always taking time alone in the gym. Now is the opportunity (for me) to show my full potential and be helpful to the the team.”
Additional reporting by Ashley Bingham and Kasey Main
Photo by Jamie Gilliam