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Turning the other cheek not for Purdue's Scott

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Ex-Northrop standout making early mark

Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 12:01 am

Bryson Scott didn't came to Purdue to turn the other cheek. It's important to understand that. Passive basketball play isn't in his nature or in his coach's demands.

The freshman guard competes as if his next five meals depend on it, whether it's in practice, in next Saturday's Black-Gold open-to-the-public scrimmage or anything else that involves a ball and a court.

This is like manna from heaven to coach Matt Painter, who has built his career on a hard-working approach.

“His desire to compete and win is his biggest asset,” Painter says. “He's a very competitive, tough, power guard. He's a very physical guy. He's a tough matchup, especially for a lot of point guards.

“He'll play both positions (point guard, shooting guard) for us. It will suit him to play both.”

The 6-1, 201-pound Scott, a former Northrop standout, arrives on what looms as a return-to-Big-Ten relevance Boiler season. He can score, defend and pass, and there is a big need for all three as Purdue looks to bounce back from last year's 16-18 record.

Sure, Scott brings physical ability. You don't score score 2,042 career high school points and average 23.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals as a senior to finish fourth in Indiana Mr. Basketball voting, without ability.

But it's his drive, Painter says, that separates him, and what makes him so likely to be an instant contributor.

“He plays so hard,” Painter says. “He fights every day. You don't want to put a limit on a guy like that. We're fortunate to have him.

“There hasn't been a practice that you don't feel like (he didn't go hard). As a coach, you always want a guy to be more consistent, but when you're learning a new system and a lot of things are getting thrown at you, it's hard sometimes. It's hard to take it all in and still compete.”

Scott's competitiveness was a big reason why Painter targeted him in recruiting.

“With Bryson we were able to see him in a lot of settings,” Painter says. “He always played hard. He always competed.

“For him being two hours away in Fort Wayne, every time you brought up his name, that was the first thing that came up -- that he played hard; that the game meant something to him.

“That's probably something as you continue to be in this profession, you assume basketball means a lot to the people who play it. That's not always the case. It's a serious commitment to play high-major basketball -- the conditioning, the workouts, the weights, the practices, the long hours. You find out who really likes basketball. For him it's never been a question.”

Scott made an impact from the moment he hit campus over the summer. Sophomore swingman Rapheal Davis, a former South Side standout, wasn't surprised. They had played on the same AAU team since Davis was a fifth grader.

“He's doing great,” Davis says. “He comes from Fort Wayne. He has that mentality. That dog mentality. Everybody from Fort Wayne is going to go hard.”

Scott figures to share point guard time with sophomore Ronnie Johnson. He's part of a deep backcourt that includes Terone Johnson, Sterling Carter, Davis and Kendall Stephens.

“Bryson also gives us quickness and athleticism,” Painter says. “When he has numbers and angles, he's very aggressive, which we want him to be. He has to learn that when the angles and numbers are't there, then he has to put people on defense and play in the half court.

“He has a chance to be a really good defensive player and put pressure on the ball. He does a good job of moving his feet, and keeping the ball in front of him.”

And when times get tough, as they do for all freshman, Scott has Davis for support.

“He comes to me for questions and I treat him like a little brother,” Davis says. “I look out for him and he looks out for me. We all look out for each other.”