Sometimes things don’t necessarily go as planned, but it isn’t always a bad thing. Case in point — the Idaho men’s basketball team.
Going into this season, all eyes were on senior 3-point specialist Connor Hill, and for good reason. The Post Falls, Idaho, native averaged more than 14 points per game last year and appeared as if he would become the heir to Stephen Madison’s throne as the go-to man for the Vandals.
Hill played about as well as everyone expected in the early going this season. The 3-point-specialist is averaging 11.8 points per game, and although he has played well this season, he hasn’t been the consistent scoring threat some expected.
But fellow senior Mike Scott stepped up on multiple occasions and showed he can be relied on to carry the load when needed.
The Los Angeles native has done a phenomenal job being a distributer, as many expected. But what many didn’t expect was for him to have such an easy job getting to the basket and putting up points. When the Vandals traveled to Boise to take on in-state rival Boise State, Scott exploded for a career-best 31-points on an 11-of-17 shooting night. For the season, Scott is averaging more than 16 points per game along with more than five assists per game, including a season high of eight in Idaho’s Saturday loss against Northern Kentucky.
Scoring has never been his forte, but he has shown the athleticism and slashing ability many point guards wish they had. On numerous occasions this season, Hill’s deadliness from 3-point-range has opened up many lanes for the slashing point guard and he has taken advantage, scoring in double figures three times in five games this season.
Scott has been quoted saying he would rather win games by being a distributor of the ball than be a scorer, and with how effective he has been as a shooter, there is no reason he cannot become a full-on dual-threat point guard.
On nights Scott would rather be a Rajon Rondo-style of point guard as a distributor than a Russell Westbrook style scorer, he has options besides Hill. Among those options is sophomore Sekou Wiggs.
Although Wiggs is listed on the roster as a point guard, he may be at his most dangerous when he is on the court with Scott, rather than for him. The two share many of the same characteristics in athleticism which, should they ever be on the court together, could prove to be too much for teams to handle, especially if they can be contracted by Hill from beyond the arc.
Scott proved in the Vandals’ last game he doesn’t need to score to be a threat. He managed only four points on 1-for-7 shooting against Northern Kentucky, easily his worst of the season, but he was able to add eight assists in the stat sheet and had a number of other nice passes and drives that came up short.
After the Vandals’ first exhibition game against Simon Fraser, Scott said he wanted to go out and prove the doubters they were wrong. Although it is early in the 2014 campaign, it is safe to say he may have silenced a few doubters and Big Sky play hasn’t even begun.
Joshua Gamez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org