Shaking defenders out of their sneakers, pull-up jumpers, sinking deep 3-pointers and clutch game winners — the highlights on the screen at the Brunswick High auditorium showcased all of Marcus Scott’s ability on the basketball court.
But that was only part of the equation that earned him a scholarship to the Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colo.
“They were impressed with his highlight tape, but they were more impressed with his GPA,” said Scott’s father, Marcus Scott IV, as he pointed out the academy’s requirements include a GPA of at least 3.7 and an SAT score above 1,000. “If he wouldn’t have had those things, it wouldn’t have mattered if he played like Michael Jordan.”
Scott officially signed his national letter of intent Wednesday, the first day basketball players are eligible to sign in the spring, in a ceremony at the school. Even though the senior knew this day was coming, it was all still a little surreal.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” said Scott after he officially put pen to paper to sign his scholarship. “I’m just appreciate of everything that’s happened.”
Scott was the main catalyst for the Brunswick High Pirates’ successful 25-4 season. He was the only Pirate to play in all the games as Brunswick had key players miss time with injuries. He also led the team in points, averaging just under 18 points per game and scoring in double figures in all but four games this season.
His performance earned him numerous awards — Region 2-6A Player of the Year, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class 6A second team All-State selection and The News’ Coastal Georgia All-Area Boys MVP — among other honors.
Brunswick High boys coach Chris Turner credits Scott’s work ethic for helping him earn a Division I scholarship.
“Marcus has worked really hard to get where he’s at,” Turner said. “He’s not a kid that just happens. Every day, Marcus is working on his game. He’s a gym rat. He’s a weight-room rat. He’s what you want as a basketball coach. You don’t have to tell him what to do.”
The first time Turner saw Scott was at Brunswick’s summer camp as a freshman.
“He looked like a little string bean,” said Turner, drawing a laugh from the crowd and the Scott family. “He was really weak. He was long and lanky, but he didn’t have the body he has now.”
While some may have only seen Scott’s lack of size and bulk, Turner saw a player that had a “nasty crossover and a nasty pull-up jump shot.”
Even though he was on 5-foot-8 his senior year, the highlight real showed defenders had trouble keeping Scott from scoring in the paint. When they did back off of him, he usually shot over the defense and sank a long 3-pointer.
As good as his physical skills are, Scott said the best part of his game was in basketball IQ. His intelligence goes beyond the court. When he was deciding on a college, his decision wasn’t just a basketball decision. He was looking toward his future after school.
“What stood out to me was life after graduation and how most people are successful from there,” Scott said. “It basically guarantees a good life.”
Whenever he’s done playing basketball, Scott is eyeing a potential future in education and as a coach, following a similar path to his father, who is an educator and has also served as a coach in some capacity for Scott since he was 7 years old.
“My father’s been a huge influence on me,” Scott said. “He’s one of the main reasons I keep doing what I do each day. He’s a big inspiration for me.”