The final commitment that gets a profile is one that I have yet to see play, but forces have conspired against me seeing him. I was originally going to go home to see Bryson Scott play my Kokomo Wildkats when they played at Kokomo in February 2011 for the final game of the regular season, but bad weather forced that game to be cancelled. My next chance came a few weeks later, when I planned on seeing Ft. Wayne Northrop against Kokomo in the regional final, but Pendleton Heights beat the Bruins in the morning session, setting up an epic double-overtime game between Kokomo and Pendleton Heights that I did get to see.
I was planning to go see Northrop play at Zionsville this year on January 7, but I did not realize that it was a Saturday afternoon game. By the time I was ready to take off I saw via Twitter the game was already in the third quarter. I was hoping to see a Kokomo-Northrop regional final this year, as I had plans to go up to Marion after the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, but both teams were beaten by Carmel and Homestead, respectively, denying a rematch of Kokomo's 68-58 regular season win a few weeks earlier at Northrop.
So I have yet to see Bryson play, but it is not for a lack of trying. If Northrop does a return make-up game at Memorial Gym next season I am there. From everything I have heard about the kid, I have missed out. Bryson did not start against Kokomo, as it was Northrop's Senior night and he deferred to the seniors to start, but the Tribune did have the following to say about Bryson's 24-point performance:
Northrop got as close as five on two occasions in the fourth. Bryson Scott, a 2013 Purdue commit, scored in transition and knocked down a triple on back-to-back possessions, and Dominick Hogue scored from the post the next trip down to pull the Bruins within 57-52 with 4:35 to play.
Kokomo basically won this game because emerging sophomore forward Erik Bowen played the best game of his young career. Bowen went for 23 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs for the young man. It's just a shame that he is an IU fan. Bryson had a rough night shooting, going 7 of 20 from the field but still scoring 24, while his twin brother, Brenton, had 15. Kokomo forced Northrop into 6 of 31 from three-point land.
To me, this is somewhat of a concern. I watched Kokomo several times this year and while they played a 2-3 zone at times (a Kokomo staple, more so than even Syracuse) they also mixed it up with man-to-man. Ronnie Johnson didn't have much trouble slicing through, but Northrop seemed content to settle in and just shoot over it.
This was a matchup of two pretty good teams within the state. Breton has committed to play at Indiana State, while Kokomo's D.J. Balentine will be an Indiana All-Star this season and will play at Evansville. It was still only one game in what was a stellar season for Bryson. Northrop was 21-4, losing only to Ft. Wayne Luers, Kokomo, Ft. Wayne Concordia, and Homestead. Northrop had beaten Homestead 72-60 three days before losing to Kokomo, so the regional loss was a rematch. Northrop was 17-7 when Bryson was a sophomore and still won a sectional. Northrop will enter next season as one of the top-rated teams in the state, and Bryson will likely be a Mr. Basketball candidate.
Like Kendall Stephens, Bryson saw his stock and ratings soar with his regular season performance this year. Rivals rates the 6'1" 170 pound guard as a solid four-star and No. 53 nationally. ESPN has him as a four-star, a 94 rating, and No. 45 nationally:
Bryson is a dynamic player and guard. He's a really good athlete and a great competitor who plays hard all the time. You can compare him to a football player because he loves contact and he's tough as nails. Not to mention he's very aggressive.
That aggressive is something this Purdue team lacked at times in 2011-12, and it is part of our team mentality. That is why Bryson is such an exciting commitment. He is the type of grinder that Purdue fans will embrace from day one. Scout's 4-star rating also raves about him:
A big time scorer who has to play on the ball, Scott can make plays every single time down the floor. He just has that instinct and basketball savvy to know how to play. Now he doesn't really get others involved and is a bit of a finished product physically, but his production can never be questioned.
I see Bryson coming in as a complementary two guard that can also play the point. Once Terone Johnson graduates I can see Scott splitting time with Ronnie Johnson at the point. Both he and Rapheal Davis are slashing scorers that can get to the rim, but I think Bryson might have a slight edge as an outside shooter. Either way, Scott is a different type of guard from classmate Kendall Stephens. Stephens is the better outside shooter, but can also drive and score. Scott prefers to drive and score, but has an outside shot that can keep defenses honest.
Bryson is coming off of a season where he was arguably the best junior in the state of Indiana. In February he became the all-time leading scorer at Ft. Wayne Northrop, a record he will likely put safely out of reach with a season to go still. Here is a nice seven minute video about Bryson breaking the Northrop record:
By the time Bryson arrives on campus we will have a wealth of talent at guard that and depth in the post that has me quite excited. Coach Painter will finally have the luxury to play around with lineups that will be extremely versatile. Let's look at the projected 2013-14 lineuep, shall we?
Point Guard (or at least point guard-capable):
Ronnie Johnson - So.
Bryson Scott - Fr.
Terone Johnson - Sr.
Anthony Johnson - Jr.
Kendall Stephens - Fr.
Rapheal Davis - So.
Basil Smotherman Jr. - Fr.
Davis (I could see him playing here in a 3-guard lineup of RJ, RJ, and Davis)
The Full Law Firm
Donnie Hale - So. (if we go super-big with Hammons/Chooch-Simpson/Lawson/Carroll-Hale)
Stephens (going three guard with a pure shooter, a slasher, and a point)
Jay Simpson - So.
Travis Carroll - Sr. (I still think he is more of a four than a five)
Jacob Lawson - Jr.
Hale (as part of an interesting three-guard smaller lineup)
A.J. Hammons - So.
Sandi Marcius - Sr.
I know it is merely the speculation of a blogger, but don't you love that even distribution of talent, versatility, and experience? You have six players very capable of playing minutes in the backcourt, five in the front court, and 2-4 players capable of shifting in that critical three spot that allows teams to go big or small. I strategically view the three spot on the floor as the one place where you can be really flexible with lineups. By 203-14 we can slide in a second scorer/slasher there (Davis, TJ, or Scott), a rangy defender/shooter (Smotherman or Stephens), or what I call the super-big lineup of Hale at the three, Simpson/Carroll/Lawson at the four, and Marcius/Hammons at the five.
Doesn't that sound like fun? Sure, Hale is more of a natural four, but why not try some lineups where you go big by playing him at the three by 2013-14 when we have a wealth of experienced forwards and a true center? The guard talent, Scott included, means we can shift guys around and almost play the final ten minutes with, "okay, who has the hot hand?" with Scott, Stephens, Smotherman, and The Law Firm. Best of all, Scott and Stephens don't absolutely have to be major contributors early, but they are certainly capable of doing so.
Clearly, Scott is a player that can come in and hopefully play a key role on a 2013-14 that will have a unique mix of depth, talent, and experience. Coach Painter will have an embarrassment of riches where he will have to find a way to balance minutes where all 13 players on scholarship each bring something different to the table. The seniors will be the Chooch, Tacos, and TJ. TJ will be a polished scorer, while Chooch and Tacos at the very least need to be valuable rebounders and experienced post players to provide depth. The juniors will be Anthony Johnson and Lawson, who will likely define their roles more in 2012-13.
The rest of that lineup is mere speculation, as it features eight players who have yet to play a single minute of college basketball, but they are all clearly talented players that have me very excited for the future of Purdue basketball.