Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The SCOTT Heard Around The City

 Matt Scott arrived at Brooklyn Law and Tech as a pin drop-quiet, unassuming freshman.

 He was bone-thin, his long arms resembling two stickball bats.

Scott's upper body seemed slender enough to make Tayshawn Prince or Quincy Douby look like Zach Randolph or Oliver Miller on a year-long McDonald’s gift card diet.

 During his first few performances on J.V., Scott possessed a sheer nose for the bucket. He developed into a workaday 20-plus point scorer, knifing to the rim with relative ease.

Scott displayed an efficient medium range game, working tirelessly in the gym to sustain his touch.

While his scoring prowess grew, the humble kid from hardscrabble Marcy, Brooklyn was pigeonholed by the "gurus" as too skinny.

Too frail. 

Not strong enough to score on the big dogs on a consistent basis.  

Scott’s game is predicated on seizing open seams, slashing, and finishing at the rim.

The agreed-upon consensus among several coaches was that Scott wouldn't withstand the physical punishment of the 7-foot NCAA behemoths. 

The Jets' competition and schedule has also been a deterrent. The perception that skinny Scott is actually feasting on NYC's cupcakes may have inflicted worry.

 It did nothing, however, to decelerate Scott's under-the-radar ascension.

So what was Scott doing this week, pouring in 34 points and tearing down 10 rebounds during Brooklyn Law and Tech’s wire-to-wire 96-48 trouncing of Brooklyn Tech?

A better question..
What has Scott been doing this season, drawing high interest from Division-I programs such as Manhattan and Canisius?

The high-motored 6-foot-3 guard was simply proving he belongs, through an engine of perseverance that saw him transition from J.V. to varsity without losing an ounce of his killer instinct.

Around-the-clock basketball focus, enforced by Jets coach Kenny Pretlow and Athletic Director Mike Levy, has kept Scott engaged. 

The small school's recent taste of the higher competition has elevated Scott's level of play.

Through this unpredictable basketball odyssey, Scott has adapted to playing all five positions on the court.

 His role is to score in a variety ways.

The emergence of 3-point shooting senior Juan Ramos (who can snipe from NBA territory) and a glut of promising underclassmen has helped.

Brooklyn Law and Tech has reaped immediate rewards of a new schedule.

The Jets, if you are willing to believe this, currently have one of the city's the toughest non-conference schedules.

“Matt’s development has consisted of working in the gym, on all components such as jumping, dribbling, and shooting,” said Jets coach Kenny Pretlow of Scott, who has averaged a league-best 33 points per game thus far.  

What makes Scott appealing to NCAA programs?

“His jump shot and his ability to slither through tight spaces,” Pretlow explained.

“His mid-range jump shot forces guys to come out and play him and he’s able to drive right by them.”

Scott copped a triple-double on the full bag of 31 points, 13 boards, and 10 assists, during the Jets’ 102-65 shelling of lowly Canarsie.

During a 90-67 win over Erasmus, Scott was again the catalyst with 34 points and 13 rebounds.

Perhaps Scott's most memorable performance came during an 84-78 loss to Scanlan on Nov. 30.

 Scott turned in a 43-point barrage, despite foul trouble.

The spurt-ability, synonymous with Scott's game, was notable during his 22-point fourth quarter.

Levy, a veritable basketball junkie, wants nothing more than Law and Tech to garner city-wide visibility.

The Jets ultimately strive to swim with the sharks of New York City’s regal recruiting waters.

The Athletic Director took the first steps, loading up Law and Tech's pre-season schedule.

The Jets had scrimmages against formidable foes such as Holy Cross, Thomas Jefferson, Wings, Eagle, and Thurgood Marshall.

 They've practiced and scrimmaged aforementioned Lincoln, where Pretlow serves as an assistant under Dwayne "Tiny" Morton.

During the regular season, the Jets have anything but a duck walk.

Top-tier teams such as Xavieran, Bedford, Far Rockaway, WHEELS, and Midwood now comprise the schedule.

Pretlow said the Jets' barometer games give Scott added adrenaline.  

“Every time Matt is on the court, he wants to prove he is the best out there,” Pretlow said.

“Against the tough teams, nothing fazes him.”

Pretlow’s words proved prophetic during a pre-season matchup against Thurgood Marshall in the True Ballaz Classic.

The Jets gutted out a wild 53-52 win on Ramos’ steal and transition layin with 25 seconds remaining.

At the constant urging of Pretlow--as entertaining on the sidelines as perhaps any coach in New York-- Scott applied draping chest-to-chest defense on Dimencio Vaughn.

Vaughn, who has transitioned from strictly a bruiser to a versatile scoring threat, is receiving steady interest from Fairfield, Hofstra, and Iona and Miami.

While Vaughn gave the Jets fits in the first half, Scott’s hounding held him to a meager three second half points.

Pretlow often likens Scott’s game to James Southerland, the former Syracuse forward now with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Southerland, like Scott, was a late bloomer. Southerland drew heavy Big East interest, though his stock didn't climb until late in his prep career.

Southerland did a post-graduate year at Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburgh, Mass.), his game blossoming alongside current Cincinnati guard/NBA prospect Sean Kilpatrick.

Once a spindly freshman, an astonishingly quiet kid of a few words and barely enough confidence to express himself, Scott has evolved.

While Manhattan seems to be making the biggest push, Long Island, St. Francis, Niagara, and most recently Quinnipiac have expressed interest. The once-marginal Division-I prospect will be quick to commit.

As word around the blazing Brooklyn beach fire has it, the first school to offer will be the first school Scott will pen with.

The goal is to play Division-I, at a school where Scott can grow as a leader, a workhorse, and a viable go-to option.

All of those attributes which define Scott, who is no longer underappreciated by the masses.