JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – National signing day included some seniors choosing school hundreds or thousands of miles away.
For Episcopal guard Mark Flakus, his choice was just the opposite.
Flakus, one of the best long-range shooters in the state, signed on the dotted line Wednesday to attend UNF.
“I’ve always loved the idea of staying in town for numerous reasons,” Flakus said. “My family, my friends, and also just kind of that idea of being a hometown hero. Just playing for the city you grew up in, having people around you coming to watch you that you know, I feel like there’s something good about that.”
Flakus has scored plenty in his career. He begins the season with 880 career points and figures to pass the thousand-point plateau at some point during the season. He’ll be cheered on by some of the same family and friends who were at Episcopal on Wednesday to witness him signing his National Letter of Intent.
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of, since I’ve picked up a basketball 13 years ago,” Flakus said. “And to see it finally play out. and to see the people who brought me this far able to be there with me and share that moment with me was pretty cool.”
The decision to choose UNF was one that makes sense when you consider the Osprey’s style of play. The “Birds of Trey” love to shoot the three-pointer, Flakus’ top skill.
“That’s that was a big, a big factor on committing to UNF in the first place,” Flakus said. “I love the way they play. I love the speed they play at. I love the way Coach (Matthew) Driscoll runs his offense, and I think it’ll be a good fit for me.”
Flakus says UNF first took interest in him as a freshman during a practice at Southside Baptist Church, near the Episcopal campus.
“Coach Driscoll was there and that’s when I first came in contact with him. So ever since then, I’ve kind of felt a special bond with them,” Flakus said. “And just it’s just been going through that phase for the past couple of years. And to finally get it all set in stone today was really something special.”
Flakus’ coach, Chip Stroud, raves about the guard’s approach to the game and thinks the choice of the Ospreys is a perfect match.
“Seeing Mark grow from a role player as a freshman to a guy who does it all for us, is directly related to his work ethic,” Stroud said. “Mark comes early, stays late, and has an incredible basketball IQ. I feel he will for right in with Coach Driscoll and UNF. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”
Speaking of his family, Flakus’ oldest brother Matt is an assistant coach at Episcopal.