Watching Bryson Scott play the sport of basketball is similar to viewing a piece of art. Some observers will view the athleticism, the passion, the strength, and the skill as a thing of beauty. Others see the Northrop High School junior guard's game and look mostly for the negative aspects and don't find it attractive at all.
Where some see passion and competitiveness, others see arrogance and uncontrollable behavior. So which is more accurate?
“Bryson gets painted in a negative light,” Bruin coach Barak Coolman said. “I know his heart (and) that kid has a heart of gold. He gets more excited about his team winning than his own personal accolades. When he hits a shot, he's trying to hit that for his team, not to look at me, its look at us.”
Scott is the 2012 recipient of The News-Sentinel Boys Basketball Player of the Year honor.
The Purdue recruit has done nothing but achieve success on the basketball court since he arrived at Northrop as an immediate varsity starter three seasons ago. He has led Northrop to 51 victories, a pair of IHSAA Class 4A sectional and SAC Holiday Tournament championships and those accomplishments don't surprise his coach in any way.
“Because he wants to win everything,” Coolman explained, “because he wants to be the best that is what has made Bryson great. I don't have to motivate him very hard.”
Scott has led Northrop in a number of measurable categories during his career, including becoming the Bruins' all-time leading scorer this past season. However, the most important category in Coolman's assessment is seen on a daily basis, but difficult to measure.
“He's my hardest worker,” Coolman said. “I forgive a lot of things when you are my hardest worker. My guys know that if you work hard, you can take a bad shot here or there.”
Ask the critics and they'll tell you that Scott isn't shy about taking a bad shot or two or three. Well that may be the perception, but the statistics won't back that up as reality. Scott has improved his shooting percentage each season and connected on a stellar 53.3 percent of his attempts this past year.
Another oft-stated opinion is that Scott is a selfish player. But again, the numbers don't lie. This is a kid that led his team in assists as a freshman, ranked second on his team each of the past two seasons, and was just three shy of leading his team this year. By the time Scott leaves Northrop a year from now, he has an excellent chance to rank in the top three in program history in that category.
“Bryson has diversified his game,” Coolman said. “I always tell him that he has added different tools to his tool box. He's really developed his mid-range jumper, this year his three-point percentage (33 percent) has gone up, and he's always done a pretty good job of sharing the ball.”
After averaging over 25 points per game and leading the Bruins in rebounding (6.4 per game) and steals (82) this season, what is left for Scott to accomplish in his final year?
“I want him to continue to be a better leader,” Coolman said. “I think that he is a great leader by example, so don't misinterpret that. I want him to become a verbal leader.”
That will be challenging for Scott because as emotional as he is during games, at his core, Scott has a reserved personality.
“That's something that people don't realize,” Coolman explained, “Bryson is very quiet. He's almost a little shy in the hallways (at school). He's night and day different when he steps on the court and there is something on the line, whether it be for pride or the state championship, he's got that competitive nature.”
2012 News-Sentinel All-Area Team
* Brenton Scott, Northrop, 6-0 junior
Scott helped the Bruins to 21 victories, including an IHSAA Class 4A sectional and SAC Holiday Tournament championships. The Indiana State recruit averaged over 16 points per game and hit 65 three-point shots this season.
* James Blackmon Jr., Bishop Luers, 6-2 sophomore
The Indiana recruit averaged 25 points and nearly five rebounds per game before suffering a season-ending knee injury in early February. He helped the Knights earn their second consecutive SAC regular-season title.
* Jaylon Smith, Bishop Luers, 6-4 junior
The forward helped carry the Knights following Blackmon's injury by averaging nearly 11 rebounds per game. He exploded for 34 points in an impressive 75-58 win over previously unbeaten Northrop in January.
* Josh VanMeter, Norwell, 5-10 junior
The Knights' guard burst onto the state scene as he helped guide Norwell to the IHSAA Class 3A state title game. He was named to the Indiana Junior All-Stars after averaging over 18 points and a team-best 5.5 assists per game.
* Kyle Fillman, Norwell, 6-6 senior
The Grace recruit also was a key component to the Knights' championship run. He averaged double-double by producing over 15 points and 13 rebounds each outing.
* V.J. Beachem, New Haven, 6-7 junior
The Notre Dame recruit enjoyed an incredible first season at New Haven, as he helped lead the Bulldogs to 17 victories, which was the program's most in 16 years. He averaged nearly 21 points per game and 2.5 steals per game.
* Quilyn Howard-Upshaw, North Side, 6-1 senior
The combo guard helped the Redskins to a 12-win season, which was their most in three years. He averaged over 18 points per game.
* Marq Rogers, Concordia Lutheran, 6-4 junior
The forward averaged 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game in helping the Cadets to a 16-win season. In the past two years, Rogers has been a key part of Concordia's winning 32 games.
* Zach Terrell, Homestead, 6-3 senior
The Western Michigan football recruit made a triumphant return to the hardwood after sitting out his junior season. Terrell averaged 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in helping the Spartans to 23 wins and an IHSAA Class 4A Sectional championship.
* Nick Gamble, Homestead, 6-0 junior
The speedy guard was another significant contributor to the Spartans' magical season. He averaged nearly five assists and over two steals per game.
* Trent VanHorn, Canterbury, 6-3 junior
VanHorn helped the Cavaliers overcome the absence of injured star (and 2011 News-Sentinel Player of the Year) Austin Hatch. He averaged nearly 24 points per game in leading Canterbury to 19 victories, including IHSAA Class A sectional and regional titles.