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March 21, 2013
Much of what Purdue lacked this season is exactly what signee Bryson Scott may add next season.
Backcourt depth has been an issue for the Boilermakers, something Coach Matt Painter has alluded to often throughout the year. That in mind, the high-scoring guard from Fort Wayne Northrop, capable of playing either backcourt spot, will be a welcomed addition.
But less obviously, and maybe more importantly, is the guard's demeanor.
You will be hard-pressed to find a more driven and self-motivated player.
"I'm a work-hard sort of player and someone who'll go get it and not sit there and wait for things," Scott said. "I'll go get what's mine. I'm pretty excited for next year and all the opportunities that'll be presented. Hopefully I can make the most of them when I get there."
The challenge, though, may lie with whatever struggles he may encounter as a freshman, and when you're a freshman in the Big Ten, there's simply no avoiding struggles in some form or another.
"For me, it'll be about knowing that I can do it and staying confident in myself," said Scott, never one to hide his emotions, to put it mildly. "I feel like I'm physical enough and my skills are ready for me to prove myself to the Purdue guys. I'm going to keep working on those skills and everything, my shot and all those things. But the most important thing for me is just having confidence in myself, not going in there and being shy, but just competing hard and getting after it."
Confidence will never be an issue for a player who finished second all-time in Fort Wayne history by scoring 2,042 points; only Ohio State All-America candidate Deshaun Thomas scored more.
But Scott knows things will be different in a few months, his days of almost always being the most talented and most physical player on the floor being over.
"When you're a freshman, you might not get as much playing time as you'd think and it could affect the way you do things," Scott said. "I have to make the most of my opportunities and stay confident and know that I can play with anybody."
The mental portion of the game will be the biggest adjustment for Scott, he said.
Ability has never been a question.
Throughout his career, Scott's always been a prolific scorer, primarily because of his ability to get to the basket. But he's typically been a menace defensively, with his tenacity seemingly tailor-made for what Purdue aims to do with its man-to-man approach.
Again, though, it'll be different at the next level, particularly defensively, where he'll have to be more assignment-oriented rather than simply trying to take the ball from opponents in the backcourt, which he often did in high school as he finished with nearly 240 career steals.
"I'm pretty sure Coach Painter's going to get me ready for that," Scott said. "I'm going to have to learn to guard the quicker guards in the Big Ten ... and not try to just steal the ball from them every time. I'll have to learn the way he'll want me to guard those guards."
On offense, sometimes when high school stars move up to college, less is more, meaning that they don't have to shoot nearly as much, but their typical college shot is of higher quality than their typical high school shot.
At Purdue, Scott won't have to average 20-some points per game.
"That's going to help me a lot. I feel like I'm a scorer, but also a playmaker," said Scott, who averaged a career-best 3.4 assists as a senior, clearly eager to involve his teammates more than ever before. "I love being that guy who'll (pass) on a shot that could be good for me but great for somebody else. It will be kind of an adjustment because I know I'll be looking forward to the adjustment of making that extra pass and setting up that shot.
"It'll go against my nature just a little bit, but it'll fit me well, because I'll be the type of guy, I think, who'll feed off the defensive end. It'll help me a lot to know that all I have to do is just play hard and be a team player and I won't have to worry about scoring a whole bunch. I can just chip in when I need to and take my opportunities when they come and just try to help the team win."
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