Greg Lansing kicked him out of practice, even suspended him a few times. He never dimmed Brenton Scott’s green light, however, and never lost his trust.
“We butted heads,” Lansing said. “I threw him out of practice… more than any kid I’ve been around. I don’t think anything I said and tried to coach him on he believed. He had a better way to do it at all times.”
Coach Lansing’s way and Scott’s way now mesh most of the time, and when it doesn’t they can work it out at Indiana State. Scott, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, redshirted during a rocky 2013-14 redshirt season, one that ended with a misdemeanor marijuana arrest. Over the next two seasons, he matured off the court and developed into one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s most exciting and unpredictable scorers.
“I’ve said from the word go that he’s got a screw loose and so do I,” Lansing said. “I love him. He’s grown up tremendously.”
Coaching Scott forced Lansing to change some of his definitions of a bad shot.
“He has no fear, absolutely no fear,” Lansing said. “I used really get on him for taking what I thought was a bad shot, but he didn’t think was a bad shot. I don’t say that much. Even in practice (recently) he took some quick, tough shots, but he makes them.”
Scott, from Fort Wayne, Ind., averaged 14.9 points last season and made 38.4 percent of his three-pointers. He earned second-team All-MVC honors and is the lone player from the first or second teams back this season. The Sycamores need him to take on a larger leadership role after the departure of Devonte Brown and Khristian Smith, two experienced players who freed Scott to focus on his offense.
“Last year, I was not so much of a leader,” Scott said. “That’s my job, help the other guys along with what coach wants.”
Scott and Lansing squabbled over playing time early in Scott’s career, when players such as Jake Odum blocked him. He admits that his competitive nature caused uproars, which forced Lansing to kick him out of practice in those days.
“It was hard for me to find my role and get minutes,” Scott said. “I didn’t know if I made the best decision. But he always had my back. When I went through that one little incident my freshman year, he still had my back. I love him and he loves me.”
Indiana State, which went 15-17 last season, 8-10 in the MVC, is a different team. They are bigger along the front line with the return of two injured players and will operate with a true point guard. Scott is the only returner who averaged double figures last season.
“The focal point goes right on him,” Lansing said. “He’s done a great job all fall of creating shots for other people. And I challenge him on the defensive end.”
One thing Lansing won’t challenge is Scott’s flair for the dramatic. He is unafraid to shoot well beyond the three-point line and his confidence in his shot never wavers.
“Green light,” Scott said. “I don’t think that changes at all. I think it will increase a little bit. I feel like I can make any shot on the floor.”
Scott played like that for a seven-game stretch in January in which he averaged 21.5 points and made 29 of 55 three-pointers (52.7 percent), including a career-high 30 against Northern Iowa and 24 at Wichita State.
In February, teams blanketed him and he didn’t break 20 again.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of helping him,” Lansing said.
The Sycamores are picked sixth in the MVC. Lansing’s hope is that a better passing and ball-handling team can push the Scyamore ceiling higher. Last season, Indiana State committed 22 more turnovers than its opponents and two of its main ball-handlers (Brown and Scott) committed more turnovers than they had assists.
Senior Everett Clemons, who had 91 assists and 45 turnovers in a reserve role, takes over at point guard. Freshman Jordan Barnes and transfers Demonte Ojinnaka and Donovan Franklin should help those turnover issues.
“We’ve got a lot more guys that handle the ball,” Lansing said. “Jordan Barnes is such a talented freshman. But Everett, ever since we were done last year, he’s taken over a main leadership role and the point-guard position.”