Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Former Law & Tech's Star Now Wants The Pressure

When Matt Scott arrived at the doorstep of Brooklyn Law & Tech, then-coach Kenny Pretlow and Mike Levy saw a quiet scoring threat in need of two crucial ingredients. The first was a dose of  confidence.

The second? Some damn meat on those bone-thin arms, which could double as stickball bats.

A left-handed shooter capable of engineering quick scoring sprees and steering intensified pressure, Scott grew and blossomed. Steady guidance and motivational tactics from Prelow played a role in his development.

"His first year on varsity, I called him a scared sophomore," said Pretlow, back in 2014. "SCARED SOPHOMORE. As a junior, I challenged (Scott) by saying, 'you don't want to take the big shots. You don't want this pressure.'

Ask most around the city, Scott's story is atypical. He circumvented the AAU scene altogether, playing in neighborhood tournaments instead. He was a late bloomer on the recruiting market, with several coaches believing he needed a year of prep school.

The physicality at the Division-I level might be a bit eye-opening for Scott, as conventional wisdom would indicate.

Scott opted not to listen.

The bigger the stage, the bigger he played.

Scott's evolution as a 28PPG scorer began against Scanlan, when he erupted for a career-best 43 points.

Against Lincoln, then featuring one of the nation's elite guards in Isaiah Whitehead, Scott hung 22. Against Christ the King, he gave an efficient account of himself. With a number of pull-ups, slashes, and shots from distance and beyond the arc, Scott ended up with 32.

This was all residual effects of Scott's 2013 summer workout regimen. While other players of Scott's caliber and make-up were under an AAU microscope in Las Vegas and other pivotal proving grounds, Scott was firing up 500-600 shots per day.

He was in the gym and running 800s and 1600s on the track. He was packing on necessary muscle to those stringbean arms.

Back to the future.

Scott is currently a sophomore at Division-I Niagara. The 6-foot-4 sophomore only averaged 5.0 points and 2.7 boards as a freshman, his potential underscored by a 23-point outburst against Manhattan.

Now, flushed into a prominent role and twice the man he used to be, Scott looks to again prove he wants this pressure.

NU travels to St. Francis N.Y. for a scrimmage this weekend, as Scott will be back near the same Brooklyn stomping grounds where his game blossomed.

Scott on the biggest transition from HS to Division-I play

The major difference has to be the quickness of the game and the aggressive play that is allowed. It's an adjustment. It's totally different from high school.

On His Preparation For Sophomore Season And His Role

I have worked on my strength tremendously. I always work on shooting the ball and have improved a lot at finishing at the rim and using ball screens to both create for myself and others as well as get to where I want to get on the court. As for slashing and shooting, it's hard to say which is a bigger part of my game because I do both. It just depends on what the defense is giving me.

As far as my role, I'm going to be a key guy, hands down. I play a huge leadership role for our younger guys. My job is to score the ball, defend, rebound, take care of the ball and give constant pressure on the defensive side. As far as the team, we plan to win the MAAC and then end up at the tournament. That's the aspiration.

On The Recruiting Process And Niagara

All that "he's not ready" talk, truthfully, it was never even thought about by me. The coaches here, they know what it takes. Me being coachable, listening, and doing what they say has been key in helping me improve day-to-day, from last season to this season.

On Coming Home

I gotta turn up for this scrimmage against St. Francis N.Y. I don't know if it's an open or closed scrimmage, I've got to find out. Hopefully I will see fam and friends.