Great Scott

Oak Ridge junior's strong play helps team to 19 straight wins
By: Matt Long
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Bryce Scott has taken his God-given basketball talent and thrown in a lot of hard work, which has turned him into one of the top scorers in the Sacramento area. Not bad for a 6’2” junior guard who only started half the season as a sophomore. Scott has put the time in and that work has not only improved his game, but has also sparked an Oak Ridge team that won its first 19 games before losing to Pleasant Grove last week. Scott is a big reason for the team’s success this season. From the moment Scott was born, basketball was in his life. His dad, Steve, played professionally overseas and was playing in Germany, which is where Bryce was born. Steve later coached Oak Ridge for six years from 2000-2006, directing the team to a state championship in 2005. Those years coaching Oak Ridge left a big impression on his son’s love for the game. “Bryce is a coach’s kid and has grown up around the game,” Steve said. “He’s always loved it and always worked at it. He went to almost every freshman, junior varsity and varsity game when I was coach here at Oak Ridge.” Scott was 11 years old when the Trojans won the state title. The team’s point guard, Hiram Thompson, was a team leader, handled the basketball with kid gloves and could also score. Scott is the same type of player today, arguably with a better shot. “That team had a lot of great players, but Hiram was my biggest mentor,” Scott said. “I saw the work that he put it and saw what I needed to do.” Scott received a lot of help from his dad, who spent numerous hours working with him. Steve not only taught his son correct shooting form and such, but also worked on the mental side of the game. “I think that’s where my dad has helped me the most,” Scott said. “I used to be weak mentally, but my dad has taught me to stay confident. He pretty much has helped me with everything, though.” Steve said he worked with his son a lot up until high school, which is where Bryce wanted to work even more on his own. Scott started high school on the freshman team before moving up to the junior varsity team at the end of his freshman year. Last year as a sophomore he played on the varsity team, starting about half the games. This year he’s improved by leaps and bounds, scoring 20 points per game and averaging five rebounds, three assists and one steal. He’s also shooting 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the foul line and has made 41 three-pointers. “He’s a gym rat,” Oak Ridge coach Bob Christensen said. “There are not too many players who make the time commitment that Bryce makes. You take the skill he has and combine it with all the work that he’s done and you can’t help but to improve. Literally every weekend during the offseason we was calling me asking me to open the gym so he could come down and shoot. He’s got a passion and commitment to the game.” The biggest area in which Scott has improved from last year is his strength. On top of being stronger, Scott has benefited from mental maturity and improved confidence. He’s by far the team’s best scorer, and he can do it in many ways. Whether he’s driving to the basket, running the floor in transition or dropping a three from beyond the arc, Scott has a full arsenal of offensive weapons. “I want to be a good all-around player, which includes playing good defense,” Scott said. “Some games I get to the free throw line a lot, other games I hit the three. I want to be more than just an attacking player. I love the challenge of guarding the other team’s best player too.” Senior teammates Tyler Simms and DJ Leszczynski, who have known Scott since third grade, know that he’s played a big role in the team’s success. “Bryce is very good at attacking, but he’s also got a great shot,” Leszczynski said. “He works hard and is one of our leaders. We know we need him to be successful if the team is to be successful.” Simms added, “As a teammate Bryce is very encouraging. Offensively, he’s our best scorer hands down. He’s a good defender and a great kid. I know he’ll play Division I basketball.” Playing Division I basketball is indeed Scott’s ultimate goal. Sure he wants the team to win the Delta River League title this year and go as far as they can in the playoffs, but the driving force behind the work Scott puts in is a scholarship. “He’s got ability and he keeps get better,” Steve said. “He’s been blessed with skills plus with his work ethic I know he’ll become the best that he can be. His goal is to play in college and hopefully he’ll get there.”