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March 31, 2014

Scott ready to improve, prove himself at point

Already looking ahead to next season, Bryson Scott kept cracking smiles just discussing the opportunity before him.

Such animation was rarely seen during his recently concluded freshman season, but the offseason brings a new beginning of sorts for the sophomore-to-be guard.

"I'm really excited, really anxious to get back out there and to be playing well," he said prior to a workout last week. "I just want to play well and do the things I know I'm capable of doing."

Scott didn't often struggle in high school, certainly not to the levels he did for the most part during his first Big Ten season. So he was not accustomed to the adversity he faced as a rookie, when he was turnover-prone and simply out of control at times in his first season of college basketball.

Late in the year, Scott began talking about looking forward to the offseason and a chance to dig in on personal improvement.

Now, that time has come, with Purdue's disappointing season now over.

"I feel like I can make a lot of progress, a lot of it having to do with the mental side of things and me just preparing myself mentally," Scott said. "The last games this season, I wasn't prepared at all. I went out there not prepared at all, like I didn't know what to do. This year, it's going to be a new Bryson Scott. I'm looking forward to the mental challenges I'm going to face this offseason.

"(I just want to be) a smarter basketball player, a guy who understands better when to pick his spots, more of a point guard-savvy person. I'm looking forward to that challenge and showing I can do it."

Scott has historically been a more scoring-oriented player throughout his career, making for a rocky adjustment last season as he transitioned to playing the point guard position at the college level. Purdue's coaches don't discourage their point guards from scoring as long as they're involving others and making proper decisions.

With a premium put that decision-making, Coach Matt Painter said late in the season that he didn't know whether he'd project Scott for the position long-term.

Scott is eager to prove himself in that role.

"You need to lead the team and run the team, knowing where guys need to be and getting them involved," Scott said. "That's something I've never really had to do. My whole life, it's been about just going out there and playing. That's what my challenge is now. This past season I didn't do such a good job with it."

It's crucial he do so now, not only if he's to remain in the point guard role, but also for the Boilermakers' sake. With two-year starter Ronnie Johnson's transfer, Purdue needs someone to fill those minutes.

"It changes a lot, bringing a lot of opportunity and minutes. I feel like I'm a guy who gets the first shot at that opportunity if I take that role very seriously and embrace it," Scott said. "That's what I want to do: Embrace that challenge and do the best I can with it. I'm going to work hard and hopefully I can gain his trust and get those minutes.

"Even with (Johnson's) situation, whether he was going to stay or not, I was still going to pursue those goals. I was really looking forward to the offseason and improving every aspect of my game, mostly mentally. It was something I was going to do (anyway), but now with him being gone, it brings up an even bigger opportunity."

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