Antwan Scott ready to fill his role after being granted eligibility

Sam Lounsberry

College basketball was supposed to end last season for Antwan Scott.

The CSU guard had overcome enough hardship on his way to a major Division I program. Once he became a Ram, there were supposed to be better times ahead. The team was expected to do big things behind the leadership of seniors Daniel Bejarano, JJ Avila and Stanton Kidd, and Scott was expected to play a major role.
 
But Scott never really got to join that group for its 27-win season. A broken foot requiring surgery kept him out for all but the first four games last year. 
Antwan Scott at a CSU basketball practice last season. (Photo by Abbie Parr)
Antwan Scott at a CSU basketball practice last season. (Photo by Abbie Parr)
 
Scott’s path as a basketball player is far from typical. After spending 2010-2012 at a junior college in Ranger, Texas, he transferred to Idaho for his Division I debut, but he never played a game there.
 
Instead, the Wylie, Texas native used his redshirt and transferred to Grambling State in Louisiana for the 2013-14 season to be closer to his mother, Theresa, who had entered a coma. Scott missed his first three games as a Tiger after she passed away prior to his junior season.
 
He wouldn’t be stopped, though. Not then, and not last year after doctors told him he couldn’t play on his foot in his last guaranteed year of NCAA eligibility. He initially suffered the injury at Grambling State in off-season workouts, and it lingered with Scott, forcing him into surgery before last season. He was sidelined for all but the first four games, in which he accumulated a mere 33 minutes for the year.
 
“I had surgery in September (last year), and then I tried to play and my foot was just hurting me,” Scott said. “The doctor said it stopped healing, it didn’t heal right. So he shut me down until it healed, and it didn’t heal until May.”
 
Scott’s career could have ended on the bench. But he was granted a sixth year of NCAA eligibility due to medical hardship this summer on July 27.
 
“I had to go through summer workouts, the whole spring, everything, going to school just not knowing,” Scott said. “It was hard, but I kept my faith, my faith in God. It’s just a blessing, man, to even be out here (in practice), to put my shoes on and run up and down the court every day.”
 
Now, the 6-foot-1 guard expects to contribute in CSU’s backcourt.
 
“He’s ecstatic,” CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said.
 
Excited as he is, though, Eustachy needs Scott to adjust his game. In his sole season at Grambling State, Scott was a high-volume shooter, scoring a team-high 15.7 points per game on an average of nearly 12 shot attempts per contest, with over four coming from 3-point range. The Tigers notched a 5-24 overall record in 2013-14.
 
“Somebody has to be the leading scorer on a bad, bad team, and that’s what he was,” Eustachy said. “So he’s buying in.”
 
Joining fellow guards John Gillon, Gian Clavell and Joe De Ciman in the backcourt this year means Scott will have teammates just as talented as him for perhaps the first time in his career, besides the four games he played last year. 
Antwan Scott played in just four games for CSU before a foot injury ended his season. (Photo by Eliott Foust)
Antwan Scott played in just four games for CSU before a foot injury ended his season. (Photo by Eliott Foust)
 
“He is not used to getting assists,” Eustachy said. “He’s used to receiving them, getting an assist from a player. This is really the first time in his life that he’s been instructed on how he should play, instead of just a guy who shoots it and gets back in a zone.”
 
A greater expectation of discipline under Eustachy is a reason Scott chose Colorado State over Tennessee while being recruited out of Grambling.
 
“At Grambling, I was a kucklehead,” Scott said. “I got to run around, do what I want to do, no discipline. Here, there is so much discipline.”
 
Scott acknowledges his time at CSU has been the most beneficial for his game, and he has started feeling more at home in Fort Collins during his second year in CSU’s Adult Education Master’s Program. The graduate student earned a degree in criminal justice during his stint at Grambling State, and will have his master’s come May.
 
“It’s been a rocky road,” Scott said. “This has been the best stop, though, when it comes down to resources. I’m getting the best coaching I’ve ever had. I’ve never been held accountable as much as I’m held accountable now.”
 
Being considered accountable by Eustachy means he will have to become more than just a shooter, and the guard is embracing that task. He said his goal for the season is to be one of the Rams’ top defenders.
 
Improving shot selection is a priority, too.
 
“I’m not going to be able to take 20 shots a game like I did at Grambling, so I have to be able to drive and kick and get someone else a good shot,” Scott said. “It’s been a struggle for me, especially taking bad shots. At Grambling, I could take any shot I wanted. Here, I can’t do that.”
 
Look for Scott to come off the bench to start the season, likely to replace Clavell or Gillon in the backcourt. Eustachy said Scott is in his eighth or ninth spot, but the coach said that could easily change before the season is over.
 
Scott, though, isn’t worried about his minutes.
 
“I’m just here to play my role,” he said.  “Blessed to be back for another year.”
 
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @samlounz.