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July 15, 2010
12:08 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Mike Scott knows several basketball players at other ACC schools. Based on the stories he and his friends have traded, Scott believes it’s more difficult to remain in good academic standing at UVa than at most of its conference counterparts.

“It’s definitely tough here,” Scott said last week at John Paul Jones Area. “But if you get your degree here, get a good education, you’re getting it from a top-notch school.”

Scott, an anthropology major from Chesapeake, said he’s on track to graduate next spring. The 6-8, 240-pound forward admits, though, that he hasn’t always been as diligent academically at UVa as he should have been.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but I know for myself, yeah, there’s been valleys and peaks,” Scott said. “At times, man, I was just tired of school, and at times I just couldn’t wait to get to class, because I knew I was doing well.”

After a subpar first semester in 2009-10, he did well in the spring. Asked to explain the turnaround, Scott said he “was just looking into the future. I guess it was taking a first step into being a leader.”

Scott, featured in a recent article on, is taking Spanish in summer school. He practices on assistant coach Ron Sanchez, strength-and-conditioning coach Mike Curtis and teammate Assane Sene, who’s fluent in several languages.

Sanchez is a native of the Dominican Republic. Curtis, former strength-and-conditioning coach for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, honed his Spanish skills during visits to Spain for workouts with Pau Gasol.

Norman Nolan, with whom Curtis played at UVa, helps Scott on the court. Nolan, a bruising power forward, led Virginia in scoring and rebounding as a senior in 1997-98. He’s been working out with Scott this summer, in individual sessions and during pickup games.

“I try to play against him every time,” Scott said. “Every time we pick teams, I make sure he’s not on my team, because I want to go against him. He’s so strong, and he can shoot.”

Jeff White

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