Matt Scott has a problem. The Lakeside High School senior can't stop dreaming about what lies ahead.
"I'll be sitting in school, and my mind will drift and I'll start thinking about the first game coming up," the sharpshooting guard said of the fast-approaching basketball season. "Everybody knows this could be the year for Lakeside to have a really good record. We've got a good senior class and a lot of good players."
The Panthers' opponents also have a problem. They have to find a way to stop Scott this season, and that might prove impossible.
Scott pours in points. As a junior last season, he averaged 26 points per game, and accounted for nearly 50 percent of Lakeside's scoring. He also hauled in nine rebounds a contest to lead Lakeside.
With a quick release and a deadly touch from 3-point range, Scott has already topped the 1,000-point plateau for career points. The 6-foot-3 player is larger than life on the court, and that makes it hard to be humble.
"Some people around school might say I'm cocky, but if you don't have any confidence about yourself, you wouldn't be any good," Scott said.
You can't fault Scott for having a big head, because he has basketball on the brain.
"If the gym could be open 24 hours a day, he'd be in the gym shooting. He wouldn't leave," Lakeside coach Richie Carnes said. "He loves basketball. Everyone around here knows that. A lot of kids get tired of the sport they play, but he doesn't get tired of basketball."
As an eighth-grader, Scott gave up football and baseball to focus on basketball. He has worked constantly to improve his hoop skills, and has benefited by training under the watch of Michael Stokes, a former high-school and college standout who met Scott while coaching AAU basketball.
While Stokes has provided valuable advice, there are some things you can't teach.
"When the pressure is on I tend to play better," says Scott, who isn't daunted by being double-teamed in games. "I expect people to be coming after me, but I'll be ready for it. I'm at the top of my game right now."
Scott was on his game during the off-season. He attended the prestigious 5-Star Camp in Pittsburgh over the summer. Close to 500 of the country's top prep players attended the camp, and Scott was among 22 selected for the camp's all-star contests.
College programs have taken notice, and though Scott has already received three scholarship offers, he's holding out for a deal with a big-time Division I team.
"If I have a good senior season, the sky's the limit as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I'm more driven now. I realize I can get a college scholarship out of this. That makes me work harder because I know what's at stake."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.