- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
With Mike Scott back, Virginia has interior presence
Question of the Day
The temptation is there for Mike Scott. For the first time in a decade, Virginia is picked to finish in the top third of the conference.
A younger version of him — the one who played for parts of four forgettable years for the Cavaliers — might let the hype consume him. Not now.
“If I was immature, I would have said ‘Yeah, I’m going to make it to the tournament and we’re going to win everything,’ ” Scott said. “But you have to be real about yourself and just worry about the process.”
It’s a lesson forged with plenty of losing and the delay of a full senior season by a year.
The 6-foot-8 forward is back after receiving a hardship waiver. His 2010-11 season ended after 10 games because of an ankle injury. In many ways, so did the Cavaliers’ realistic postseason hopes.
The double-double machine — he has 24 for his career and needs six more to take over third place in Virginia history, behind Ralph Sampson and Travis Watson — opted for surgery when the pain became too much.
It also forced the otherwise diminutive and youthful Cavaliers to reinvent themselves on the fly without their best player.
The results were respectable under the conditions (Virginia’s 7-9 ACC mark was its best since 2007) but rarely was the 16-15 season easy on the eyes.
“We really didn’t have an inside game to speak of,” guard Sammy Zeglinski said. “Assane [Sene] had some pretty good games for us, but as far as having a real post presence, it was tough because every shot we had to work for on the perimeter. You could see our 3-point percentage was pretty good, but our 2-point field goals was low.”
As January, February and March unfolded, Scott chafed. He wanted to be on the floor. He also wanted to help. He embraced his rehabilitation, and it took about six months for him to feel fully healthy.
Along the way, he lost 20 pounds, worked on his long-range shot and dribbling and picked up some pick-and-pop skills from the perimeter. He also was determined to shed a label as an average defender after hearing such criticism over the course of his career.
“I’m a very impatient person,” Scott said. “I was like ‘All right, when is this going to feel better?’ Like a month or two ago, I started to feel like my old self. I feel a lot quicker, and I’m jumping higher.”
That’s welcome news for the Cavaliers, who coach Tony Bennett has reshaped in his two-plus years in Charlottesville.
Only three holdovers — Scott, Sene and Zeglinski — remain from when Bennett took over. With his return, Scott gives Virginia an impressive interior presence with the talent to carry the Cavaliers at least into the top half of the league, if not further.
The notion of Scott as a program savior bothers Bennett, who knows more will be needed if Virginia is to make a run at an NCAA bid.
“I have this sense that everybody thinks that just because Mike’s back, all is well,” Bennett said. “It’s not that easy. He’s going to help us. He’s a very good player, and he’s worked hard, but this is about everybody improving. This is a collective team more than I’ve had in my first two years. I think Mike’s going to do well, but I don’t think it’s fair to say ‘You’re the answer.’ “
There are few decidedly simple solutions, as Scott well knows. His second senior year starts Sunday when the Cavaliers play host to South Carolina State, and he still has yet to savor an NCAA tournament trip.
He understands that won’t happen instantaneously, perhaps showing more patience than he gives himself credit for.
“I tell my teammates when people starting talking about the NCAAs, you definitely want to embrace it,” Scott said. “But just worry about the process of getting there. Just take it day by day. Don’t worry about the tournament in October. Don’t worry about that until March.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Russia sends Iraq fighter jets, helicopter gunships for ISIL fight after meeting in Moscow
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq