Scott preparing for collegiate hoops

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Bryce Scott has a passion for basketball; has since he was a young boy. Since earning an athletic scholarship to attend Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and play basketball at the school, Scott?s passion for the game has grown at a fevered pace. Since Oak Ridge?s high school basketball season ended in late February, the 6-foot, 2-inch guard has been working to improve everything about his athletic and basketball ability, trying to prepare himself for playing at the Division I collegiate level. He?s been working out at Pure Athletix three days a week, improving his quickness and agility, among other things. Weight lifting is part of his weekly routine, as is going to the high school gym and working on his dribbling, ball handling, shooting and offensive moves. The reason why Scott?s working so hard is simple: he wants to contribute to the team?s success as a freshman. ?I really have no expectations for my freshman year,? Scott said. ?I just want to go and help the team win and try to reach the big tournament.? Scott is working very hard, but it?s not like he?s starting from scratch. He averaged 23 points a game for Oak Ridge last year and was a first-team all-Metro selection. He was also an all-league player his last three years at Oak Ridge. Because he wants to contribute as a freshman, Scott, 18, has been doing anything and everything he can do to prepare for the tough competition. Six days a week he works out in the gymnasium at Oak Ridge, working on a variety of dribbling drills, including dribbling two balls at a time, and fine tuning his behind-the-back and through the legs dribbles. Already a good shooter, Scott spends 90 minutes a day working on his shot. His best friend, Roger Blum, joins him to be his rebounder, which is a big help. ?I?ve got three workouts that I do, rotating them each day,? Scott said. ?I have a catch and shoot workout where I come off a screen and catch the ball and work to get the shot off as fast as I can. I have a dribble and ball control workout where I dribble around and through chairs, while making different moves and I have a full-court conditioning workout where I run the full length of the floor and pull up for threes and other jump shots.? Scott works at Pure Athletix three days a week, working speed, agility and quickness drills for an hour before switching to some weight lifting to improve the strength in his legs. He works his upper body with lifting exercises on his own at a local gym. Steve Scott, Bryce?s dad and his coach at Oak Ridge, is amazed by the time his son has put in to improve his game. ?Bryce?s greatest strength is that he?s not content,? Steve said. ?He?s relentless in how hard he?s worked. He?s spent countless hours in the gym working. He realizes what?s ahead and he knows it?s going to be tough. He wants to play and contribute as a freshman and that?s why he?s doing all this work.? Patrick Gallagher, who coaches Scott at Pure Athletix, sees Scott?s work ethic up close and in person. ?Bryce?s work ethic and attention to detail are what makes him a cut above the rest,? Gallagher said. ?He understands that in order to be successful at the next level, you have to put the time in both on and off the court. He?s a real character athlete and a great kid all-around.? Scott?s hard work is paying off. He said he?s a lot better player than he was six months ago. ?I?ve never worked this hard before and my game has changed a lot,? Scott said. ?I also play pick-up games twice a week against five Division I collegiate players from around town and my jump shot has totally improved and I?m elevating a lot more. I?m definitely making improvements in my game.? One of those Division I players he?s been playing against, Folsom High grad Tony Johnson, will be his teammate at Lafayette. Johnson is entering his senior year. ?Tony?s been a huge help to me,? Scott said. ?He?s an amazing example of the player I want to be. The best advice he?s given me is just telling me that I?m a shooter and that?s what I do. He said I?m going to miss a ton of shots, but the team needs me to make the next one so just to keep shooting. He?s helped me a lot with my ball-handling too.? Johnson is happy to have Scott on this year?s team. ?It?s always nice when you go so far away from home and have a familiar face there and someone you can relate to,? Johnson said. ?He?s obviously a good player and will fit in well with our team. Every team can always use a shooter and Bryce can shoot.? Scott said the main area he wanted to improve himself in was getting his shots off quicker, as well as his ball handling. ?They?re looking at me as a combo guard so I?ll be either playing the point or No. 2,? Scott said. ?I?ve been working to get my shot off quicker so I can knock it down when I?m called upon. I know the intensity is way higher in college, so I?ve worked hard on my ball handling so I can break presses, get by defenders and get the team into our offense. Whatever they need me to do, I?ll do.?