(Getting) Great Scott!
Unfazed freshman guard Chanin Scott stepping up in all phases for 6-0 Jackets
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Time management is the key to thriving at Georgia Tech.
Six games into her collegiate career, Chanin Scott is showing she’s got time management down and is doing just fine.
Heading into Thursday night’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Michigan (7:00 tip-off at McCamish Pavilion), Scott is fourth on the Jackets in scoring (6.2 ppg), rebounding (3.5 rpg), and field goals made (17), leads the team in steals (12) and is tied for the team lead in offensive rebounds (13, with Zaire O’Neil), despite ranking sixth in minutes played (18.0 mpg).
Those are just the numbers that show up in the box score. Maybe more impressive are the things she does that don’t.
“The thing I love about Chanin, a lot of the stuff she does isn’t on the stat sheets,” said Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph, after Scott led Georgia Tech with three thefts in its 52-45 win over Georgia. “Her deflections aren’t on here. Her length and how she disrupts people and how nobody gets past her, she keeps everybody in front of her.”
Doing those little things are big for Scott, who takes pride in excelling in the hustle aspects of the game.
“Defense and rebounding are my favorite parts of the game,” she said. “I like that the most because I can use my athleticism to my advantage, boxing out and jumping high to get a rebound. Defense comes naturally to me and it’s really fun. I really enjoy playing defense.”
Joseph appreciates Scott’s love of defense and athleticism and recognizes how much potential is still locked in that 6-0 frame.
“I said before the season started that she was the most athletic player that I’ve ever coached here at Georgia Tech,” said the Jackets coach. “That’s saying a lot considering Ty Marshall was a phenomenal athlete and Jacqua Williams was a phenomenal athlete.”
That high praise isn’t lost on Scott, who actually broke the team standing vertical jump record in summer workouts, at age 17.
“I broke the record of Ty Marshall and she went on to become the 14th pick in the WNBA Draft,” said Scott, coincidentally standing in front of a cutout of Marshall posted on the wall outside of the Jackets’ locker room. “Being able to do that gave me pride. In practice when we have to run on the line and stuff, I always push myself to be first.”
Pushing to finish first is something she’s always done and has always been a challenge. Her father, Patrick, was a football and basketball star at South Carolina State then played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers, her mom, Tanya, also was a two-sporter at SCSU (track and cross country).
“My family is very competitive with grades, athletics, or EATING, who can eat the most,” said Chanin, the oldest of four (she has two younger brothers and a younger sister), with a laugh. “We’re just an athletic and competitive family.”
That athleticism showed itself at Myers Park. She was SW4A Conference Player of the Year, in basketball, leading the Mustangs to back-to-back conference titles and a district title, leading volleyball to three conference championships, and two district and state championships, earning Conference Player of the Year as a senior and all-state honors as a freshman, and, on the track, taking home individual conference titles in the 200 and 400 meters, and high jump as a freshman (she still holds the high jump record at 5’2”).
“Chanin was God-gifted as an athlete. She was born with a great vertical, she’s fast and long and all of those things that you can’t teach somebody and she has a tremendous work ethic. I’m not sure you can teach somebody that, either,” said Barbara Nelson, Scott’s coach at Myers Park who first coached her in AAU, and who Chanin calls the person who “developed me into the athlete that I am today.’ “So I think she’s short-changing herself just a little bit. The piece that I took part in and my staff took part in was just helping her learn to love basketball and doing some things to allow her to develop herself from just a Division I big time athlete to a Division I big time basketball player.”
Perhaps Nelson’s biggest contribution was getting Scott’s name out there. Chanin didn’t decide on going the basketball route until her junior year of high school but they found a perfect way get eyeballs on her.
“We decided that when she was warming up, as the rest of the players were leaving the court, she would go up and pop the rim,” Nelson recalled. “It was amazing how quickly all of a sudden coaches who weren’t giving her a look at all were now zoning in on her and asking questions about her. As coaches were watching the play, then they began to see the things that we saw, the rebounding ability, the running the court ability.”
Joseph, who had previously recruited Nelson-coached players, was one of those coaches, and closed the deal.
Scott was thrilled about being wooed by Tech, admitting that getting to play for Joseph was the icing on the cake.
“If you look at their academics for Engineering, they are at the top of the list,” said the Biomedical Engineering major. “I’m from Charlotte, so I’m from a big city where there is a lot of activity and fun, entertaining things to do. Going to Atlanta could be an upgrade. Georgia Tech is also three and a half to four hours away from home. I have a chance to grow up on my own and I have a chance for my family to visit me and it’s not too far in case of an emergency. And the basketball program is great. I’m just happy to be here.”
Scott may be “just happy to be here” but is playing with much greater poise.
“The thing that I really like about her in her game is that nothing fazes her,” said Joseph. “She’s the same whether you’re playing Georgia or you’re playing Alabama State. She’s going to approach the game the same way.”
As far as Scott is concerned, every opponent presents the same challenge to shut down the player against whom she’s matched up. Against Georgia, that was their junior point guard Haley Clark, who she helped wear out, nearly shut out (she was 0-for-5 shooting, one point, two assists vs. four turnovers) and foul out.
Meeting other team’s best is nothing new and isn’t limited to position.
“She is highly competitive and that has served her well,” said Nelson. “She was able to take the skill from volleyball of being able to go up and block balls, so her ability to block shots was incredible because her timing was good, she could do it without fouling. Because she’s so agile and long, we were able to use her on the other team’s best player, regardless of what position they played. So we’d go to play Blackman and she starts out guarding Crystal Dangerfield, who is a UConn freshman right now. Later on she moves over and is guarding a long, wing player, Meme Jackson, who is a sophomore now at the University of Tennessee. We were able to move her to try to stymie the other team’s offense by taking the best player out of the offense. It didn’t matter if it was a post player, a wing player or a point guard. She could guard them all.”
Scott is excited about defending in the ACC, especially with how she’s already grown under Joseph.
“Coach Jo has definitely made me tougher, mentally and physically,” she said. “That’s big because before I would say I was nicer. I’ve learned being aggressive wins so I’ve become tougher.”
Nelson feels the combination Scott’s skill set and her drive will see her grow in leaps and bounds.
“You have to be careful what you challenge Chanin to do because the challenge is going to be what is going to propel her to succeed,” Nelson said. “Some kids can’t succeed because they’re so afraid of failure. Chanin was never afraid of failure. She understood early in her life that when you fail at something it doesn’t mean you CAN’T do it, it just means you need to try again and you might need to try a different way. She sees failure as a stepping stone to getting where she wants to go.”
Scott is determined to develop all areas of her game.
“The reason I chose to play basketball was because I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to grow,” she said. “I have a lot of room to grow in basketball. I can improve my ball-handling, my shooting, there’s a lot of room for me to grow. It’s a good challenge.”