Q&A With Mike Scott
Mike Scott, a 6-8 freshman forward, has made a significant impact for the Cavaliers early in the 2007-08 season. From Chesapeake, Va., Scott has played in eight of Virginia’s first nine games after recovering from an ankle injury suffered during the summer and is second on the team in rebounding with an average of 6.3 rebounds a game. He is averaging 5.8 points and 14.4 minutes played a game, and is shooting 50 percent (13-26) from the field and 82.6 percent (19-23) from the free throw line. Scott averaged 18.5 points, eight rebounds and five assists a game at Hargrave Military Academy in 2006-07. In 2005-06, he earned first-team All-State honors when he averaged 24 points, 13.5 rebounds, four assists and five blocks a game at Deep Creek High School. He scored 25 points for the U.S. All-Stars in the 2007 Capital Classic.
Question: How has your adjustment been to college basketball?
Scott: “I think it has gone fairly smooth. It was hard coming back from my ankle injury, but I’ve found my way back into the lineup.”
Question: What has been the most difficult part of moving first from high school to prep school and then from prep school to college?
Scott: “From high school to prep school it was time management. I needed to work on my self-discipline. I worked on my self-discipline and my time management in prep school, and I think that helped prepare me for college.”
Question: So you feel the year you spent at Hargrave Military Academy helped prepare you for college life and college basketball?
Scott: “It helped me a lot, mentally and physically. If I had come to college straight from high school I don’t think I would have been ready. The year of prep school did me good.”
Question: Working on your time management was one of the key factors that really helped you prepare for college?
Scott: “That definitely helped along with staying on task and staying focused.”
Question: Your preparation time was hampered by the ankle injury you suffered during the summer, but what parts of your game did you focus on in preparing for your first season of college basketball?
Scott: “Most of my time playing basketball I’ve played on the inside, so I felt pretty comfortable with my inside game, more so than my outside game. So I worked on a lot of dribbling, shooting and passing.”
Question: How frustrating was it for you to have to take things slow during preparations for the start of preseason practice and during the early part of the preseason practice period because of your injury?
Scott: “It was very humbling and very frustrating to watch my teammates practice while I was on the sideline doing rehab. It was a long process to get fully back and very humbling.”
Question: You have made a significant contribution to the team during the early part of the season. Are you surprised by the way you’ve played and the contribution you’ve made?
Scott: “I am not really surprised. I expected myself to go out and rebound. I don’t think I’ve been playing to my full potential and that is what I plan to do.”
Question: You mentioned rebounding and you’ve rebounded the ball well. Is that something you pride yourself on?
Scott: “My Dad and I always did defensive drills where I had to rebound over him and he was definitely stronger. I take pride in rebounding and have the mentality that I’m going to get every rebound.”
Question: Have you always been a good rebounder? Has rebounding always been a strength of your game?
Scott: “Rebounding was a strength back in high school and I definitely think it has become a big part of my game in college.”
Question: Your shooting stroke seems to be a good one for someone who has played a lot inside. Is that something you’ve worked on?
Scott: “When I was at Hargrave, Coach (Kevin) Keatts told me I could shoot the three and to work on my three-point shooting to show people other parts of my game. I worked on that with my father in the gym. My shooting touch is something I’m proud of.”
Question: How do you see your role on this team?
Scott: “I see myself as an inside presence, someone who can play inside and if need be play a little forward on the wing. Someone to rebound, defend, score inside and run.”
Question: Has the emphasis on defense at Virginia been an adjustment for you?
Scott: “Some of my coaches in the past were high on defense, but no one has stressed defense as much as Coach Leitao. If you play defense, you’re going to play.”
Question: How has the adjustment been to college life in general?
Scott: “A lot of people I’ve talked to are homesick and I’m thinking this is the life. Back at Hargrave you practice, then you go straight to the barracks and you’ve got to march. You have study hall here and that’s better than studying in your room with just your roommate for six months. It is a great place to study. You also have a social life.”