In a somewhat unsurprising move, Bryson Scott has decided to transfer to another basketball program. Bryson came to Purdue with high accolades, after a tremendously successful high school career, playing next to his twin brother, at Northrop in Ft. Wayne. Rivals ranked Scott as a 4* player, 16th best point guard, and the 75th overall player in the nation. Scott was lauded as a bulldog on the defensive side of the ball, and a slashing point guard, able to finish at the rim through contact, on the offensive side. Purdue thought they were getting "Chris Kramer with better offense" but what they ended up with, sadly, was a mercurial guard often residing in Coach Painter's dog house.
Bryson's freshman year started out with tremendous promise. He put up 7 double digit scoring games in the non-conference schedule, including an 18 points in 18 minute explosion against the fifth ranked Oklahoma St. Cowboys. Bryson was (and still is) excellent at driving the ball to goal, getting fouled, and hitting his free throws. Bryson was even shooting 100% (4-4) from the 3 point line in the nonconference. However, you could also see the major flaws in his game. He was aggressive at the offensive end to the detriment of the team. He and Ronnie Johnson took turns making hero 1 vs 4 drives, often resulting in turnovers or blocked shots. When Bryson caught the ball, he was putting his head down and going to the goal, offense be damned. To be fair, that's exactly the role he played in high school, so it's not that he was intentionally selfish, it's just that he was expected to be selfish in high school. Conference play saw Bryson's production, and subsequently, his minutes, tail off. He started his Big10 career shooting a cumulative 3 of 24 in his first 6 games. He only reached double digits 3 times in the Big10 slate, and continually made the same mistake of driving the ball into the heart of Big10 defenses. Bryson's outside shooting, while promising in the non-conference, was abysmal in conference going 1 for 9 from the 3 point line in conference play. The book was out on Scott, backup, dare him to shoot, and build a wall in front of the rim, because as soon as the ball was in his hands, he was heading to the basket. Scott played like a freshman his freshman year, which isn't terrible, but he went into the offseason with a laundry list of things he needed to work on in order to improve his game.
Bryson Scott was slated to be the starting point guard for Purdue, until the John Octeus fell from heaven (or was it U.C.L.A.'s grad program) and landed on the Purdue roster, pushing Scott down a notch on the point guard pecking order. Bryson again looked like a competent point guard in the non-conference schedule. He was regularly playing double digit minutes (with the exception of the BYU and Nc. State game) and was doing his normal drive the ball schtick, except he was actually drawing the defense and dumping the ball off to an open player on occasion. Unfortunately, much like his freshman year, once conference play began, Bryson started backsliding. He had a 12 minutes, 0 pt, 2 turnover, 2 foul game against Minnesota, and then, later in the week, something happened between Bryson and Matt Painter in practice. Bryson was sent to the showers early, and placed deep in the Painter dog house. P.J. Thompson took over the backup point guard duties, and Bryson found himself buried on the bench. Over a 6 game stretch, Bryson logged only 4 minutes of playing time. Then the Indiana game happened. Bryson came off the bench, and put up a great offensive and defensive performance, including a full court dash for a layup as time expired in the first half. For the game Bryson scored 11 points, had 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and only 1 turnover in 22 minutes of play. Sure, his defense was probably a little over aggressive, as he also fouled out in 22 minutes, but for all intents and purposes, it appeared that Bryson Scott was back. He and Matt Painter even shared a hug at the end of the game. Sadly, that Indiana game was Bryson's last highlight in a Purdue uniform. Sloppy turnovers and blown defensive assignments once again relegated him to the bench. His last appearance for the Boilermakers was a 2 minute cameo on against Illinois on March 27th. He was a healthy DNP in both of Purdue's Big10 tournament games, and never left the bench in the Boilermakers first round meltdown against Cincinnati.
Optimists hoped Bryson might stick around because Purdue's point guard situation is wide open next season. However, it appears that he and Matt Painter suffered from irreconcilable basketball, and possibly personalities, differences. When Painter was quoted late in the season saying he wasn't going to play guys that "were fighting him" it was pretty obvious who he was talking about. That fact that Bryson has decided to pursue his basketball career elsewhere should not come as a surprise to anyone who followed the Bryson vs Painter battle this year. Something had to give, and it wasn't going to be Matt Painter.
So, where does this leave Purdue? Well, it leaves them with a gaping hole at the point guard position. As of now, P.J. Thompson, coming off of an up and down freshman year, and Grant Weatherford, coming off of his senior year of high school, are the only two point guards on the roster, and honestly, Weatherford is probably more of a combo guard than an actual point guard. Painter wants his point guards to play a certain style of ball, but strangely, recruited two point guards (Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott) who had no experience, and apparently, either no intention, or no ability to play in Painter's style. I'm not sure if I blame the coach for recruiting guys that didn't fit, or the players for not making a bigger effort to fit. It's probably a combination of both of those factors. To compound matters, Purdue's lone 2016 recruit CJ Walker, one of the top PG's in Indiana for the 2016 class, decommitted yesterday, putting the position in further flux. It will be interesting to see how Painter goes about fixing his issue at point guard. I would prefer a junior college point guard over a 5th year transfer, but I have no idea who is available on the JuCo market this late in the game. Hopefully, Painter can find another 5th year guy who can come in and make a difference, but I prefer having a plan instead of just having a hope. Take a look at the teams in the Final 4 and you will see 4 teams without point guard issues, for Purdue to make the next step, Painter needs to get this figured out sooner rather than later.
So anyway, thanks for the 2 years Bryson, and good luck in your future endeavors. We'll always have Indiana.