Antwan Scott after Nuggets workout: “I live with an underdog mentality”

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June 11, 2016

 

Antwan Scott has always been an underdog.

Out of high school, Scott was overlooked and began his college career at Ranger College in Ranger, Texas. He played there for two years before opening the eyes of the University of Idaho. He had to quickly transfer from Idaho to Grambling State, though, when his mother tragically slipped into a coma following complications with surgery. Grambling State’s close proximity to Dallas, where his mother was hospitalized, was key as he told me back in January because it meant he could spend time by her side. Sometimes weeks on end.

“I spent most the weekends with my mom and most my teachers understood,” Scott said in January. “And they had me on a lot of online classes. So I would stay home sometimes maybe a week, two weeks at a time just so I could be at the hospital with my mom all night. Spend the night at the hospital with my mom, not showering for like weeks.”

He played one season at Grambling State before transferring to Colorado State in 2014 as a redshirt senior. But, after only four games of action that year, Scott was sidelined due to a broken foot. Finally, and ironically after Gian Clavell was injured, Scott got his shot with the Rams in 2015-16.

“I do it because I live my life with an underdog mentality,” Scott told me Saturday afternoon. “I was told this year I wasn’t going to play much at CSU. I proved a lot of people wrong. People told me I’d never have a chance to play at the NBA level and (now) I’m getting NBA workouts.

“I just live my life as an underdog and everyday I’m out here to prove people wrong and I have to prove to myself what hard work will do for you,” he continued. “It’s not just about working hard, it’s about working hard and having faith, man.”

That underdog mentality is the very one which drives him daily in his pursuit of happiness, a career playing professional basketball.

Scott, who former Colorado State Rams assistant coach Ross Hodge called “one of the hardest workers he’s been around” said he’s been toiling tirelessly this spring in the gym. “This year, I had a lot of lapses on the defensive end,” Scott explained. “But, as school ended, I left school immediately and went to go train. That was a bad part of my game, defending. That’s something I’ve really focused on with defending the ball and being able to be comfortable handling and making plays with the ball.”

At 6-foot-1, the former Rams shooting guard realizes his professional future will likely mean playing the point guard position, handling the ball on offense and giving much effort on defense.

“At the NBA level, I can’t be a guy who’s just scoring all the time,” Scott explained. “I have to run a team and facilitate a team and make my niche by playing defense.

“I’ve spent a lot of days, working on, watching a lot of film of pick and roll reads, a lot of stuff like that with my trainer,” he said of the other end of the floor. “Defense, (learning how to) take angles, know how to bump, when to bump, not using my hands.”

All that hard work has paid off. On Friday, he was “blessed” to be given a shot at a workout with the Denver Nuggets.

“I was on the ball, playing the point, I had the ball in my hands a lot yesterday,” Scott said of the workout. “That’s something I’ve been focusing on in my training. Going back to having the ball and not playing off the ball so much. Getting back comfortable being a point guard.”

By chasing his dreams, Scott knows he’s making his mother proud, even if she’s not around to tell him anymore.

“I just try to keep pushing, I use that as motivation,” Scott said of his mother’s death nearly three years ago and what he told the Nuggets. “My mom’s not here anymore, she’s up in heaven. She’s not here with my physically, but spiritually she’s still with me. I’m trying to make my mom proud. Because I know she’d be proud of me. She always told me she wanted me to have a chance to play professionally and I’m having a chance to make my dreams reality.

“I believe my past has built me for this moment. Because of so much I’ve been through, like I told the Nuggets yesterday, ‘I’ll be a guy, let’s say I do make your roster and I play zero minutes, I won’t complain at all. I’ll still come in and work hard whether I’m playing or not.

“If I’m going to do something, I’m going to give it my all, no matter what,” Scott finished.

And if the Nuggets don’t call his name during the NBA draft — Denver has five total picks currently — Scott said he’s prepared to play in the NBA Developmental League or even overseas.

Certainly, all of Ram Nation is proud of Antwan just for getting a workout — he may have more, though they’re not completely confirmed yet — and he’ll definitely continue to impress if and when he’s playing professionally.

With Colorado State, he came in to valiantly take over for leading scorer Clavell, who went down after 10 games played, and Scott finished as CSU’s single-season 3-point champion with 96 made. He’s smooth on the court, earning him the nickname, handling the ball well and knowing how and when to attack the hoop for layups. Without a doubt, the most impressive part of his game is the thrilling 3-point shooting, making 41.3 percent from downtown last year.

Now, with working on his all-around game, there’s no way Scott doesn’t play professionally soon.

Notes:

Scott on being the No. 1 3-point shooter, single season, in Colorado State Rams history:

“It feels good to have my name in the record books as No. 1.”

Scott on former coaches Leonard Perry and Ross Hodge:

“Coach Perry and Coach Ross care about us beyond basketball. I talk to them 2-3 times per week. They do a lot for me. Those guys are a really big help to me, they mentor me. They don’t just cater to me, they tell me I need to workout, need to work on this or that. They don’t sugar coat it for me. I’m so happy to have to guys like that.”

CSU-Gear

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