Lakeside High School junior Matt Scott admits there are still some things he needs to learn about basketball.
The most important aspect of the game - how to put the ball through the hoop - is something he figured out a long time ago.
"When I was a kid I didn't have that good of a shot, but it just seemed to always go in," said.
Scott now possesses the sweetest stroke imaginable, but this isn't a story of the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan.
The explanation is a bit simpler.
"I think God gifted me with a touch to shoot a basketball," Scott explains.
Whether his talent comes from above, or has been honed through his own hard work, one thing is certain about Matt Scott - he's got game.
"In my nine years of coaching, I haven't really seen a pure shooter with his size and jumping ability," Lakeside coach Richie Carnes said. "Everyone in our region would love to have him on their team."
Lakeside's Matt Scott drives past Greenbrier's Eric Marshall on Friday. Both players are top scorers for their teams
and in the county.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
This season the 6-2 guard has emerged as one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in Region 3-AAAA. Scott entered last weekend's action averaging 26.5 points per game, and proceeded to improve that number with 30 points against Greenbrier and 31 against South Aiken.
"Sometimes I don't try to score, but sometimes that's my job," says Scott, who is responsible for close to 50 percent of Lakeside's point production. "I think that's my role this year. We lost four starters, so it's my role to score and kind of be the team leader."
Scott is ready to lead, but he used to follow.
When Matt was growing up, he regularly played one-on-one games against his older brother Michael, and they were usually one-sided.
"He's always been about 6 inches taller than me, and he always whipped up on me," Scott said. "I'm so glad he did. It's made me tougher."
Scott also credits his development to Michael Stokes, a former player and coach at Georgia Southern University who has worked with Scott for several years.
"He took me under his wing and taught me everything," Scott said. "He's done a world of good for me."
About the same time he began working with Stokes, Scott gave up other athletic pursuits in order to focus on basketball.
"When I was in eighth grade I played a lot of sports, but I wanted to pick one and be the best I could be at that one," he said. "You have to give that one sport 100 percent."
Scott's devotion to basketball seems to be paying off this season.
"He's starting to make better decisions on the court," Carnes said. "Last year you never knew what was going to happen. Now our kids try to the get the ball to Matt. That's because they have confidence in him."
Scoring binges aren't the only reason Scott has earned the respect of his teammates.
He plays the sport year-round, wears weighted shoes to help enhance his leaping ability, and is constantly striving to become a complete player.
He's not there yet - Scott says he needs to improve his ball-handling skills and defensive play.
But according to Harlem Bulldogs coach Kim Chambers, who has been victimized several times by Scott's sharpshooting, the Lakeside star already has mastered the key ingredient of success on the hardwood.
"As far as shooting motion, there's nothing he needs to do differently," Chambers said. "I have yet to see anyone come off a screen, catch the pass, and shoot 3-pointers like he does. If you set a screen for him and he gets the ball, it's money."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.