By KLINTON SILVEY
COLUMBIA — It’s a Wednesday afternoon at Douglass High School and basketball practice is beginning. The team looks a little flat-footed, and understandably so after it lost to St. Louis’s Metro High School 79-48 the night before, dropping its record to 11-4. Many of the Bulldog players aren’t pushing themselves too hard, but then something changes.
About a half-an hour into the practice, Cameron Scott shows up. He was gone on a school trip, and his car was in the auto repair shop, so assistant coach Scott Williams went to pick him up. Scott grabs his practice jersey and goes to change. When he returns and joins his teammates in practice, the players have quickness and precision in their movements that wasn’t there before, and loose balls are aggressively fought over.
It is no surprise that Scott is a hard worker; averaging six-and-a-half steals per game is no easy task. According to Maxpreps.com, it is the highest average for a high-school boys player in the state, and eighth best in the nation. But Scott doesn’t seem to want to keep all the glory for himself. He pushes others to excel as well.
“I always say that if he wasn’t a player, he would be someone’s coach,” said Fadeanna Smith, Cameron’s mother.
It shows on the court.Scott’s enthusiasm often comes out vocally, encouraging the other players to give their all.One player who matches Scott in effort is Brandon Gleeson. Gleeson and Scott are best friends, and Scott says he is a better basketball player because of Gleeson.
“He’s fast,” says Scott of Gleeson. “so in practice, he makes me better when we guard each other.” Scott may have a good training partner during team practice, but his training for basketball doesn’t stop when the coach leaves.
Scott’s father, Kenneth Scott, helps him take his game to higher levels as well. Cameron Scott describes him as a “personal trainer.” The two work together on everything from free throws to weight lifting to speed work, which might involve Kenneth Scott throwing a ball down the court just to have Cameron Scott chase it down. It is a simple training method, but Cameron Scott’s ability to steal the ball proves the exercise is effective. Practice with father might not always be fun, but father and son both recognize its importance and enjoy the time together.
“We have a good relationship,” said Kenneth Scott. “I’m proud of my son, and I’ll back him 100 percent.”
Besides the time together in training, Cameron Scott and his father share a philosophy on basketball that is vital to Cameron Scott’s success; an emphasis on defense.
“It’s my job to be hungry for the ball,” said Cameron Scott, who claims that his quickness and timing on defense go hand in hand with the team’s ability to score. He is no slouch on offense either. He averages 21.4 points-per game, with many of those points off layups that come directly from steals.
Scott’s parents both maintain that, despite being talented in other sports, their son’s passion has always been for basketball. Other than a brief stint in skateboarding his freshman year, Scott agrees. But playing basketball isn’t his only interest. Scott says he likes spending time with his girlfriend and helping his younger brothers, Aaron Smith, 13, and Jordan Smith, 14, develop their own basketball skills. Art has been a major interest of Scott’s since he was little.
“He’s a very good artist when he sits down and works,” said Fadeanna Smith, who has a tattoo on her leg that is based on a drawing her son made as a little boy.
Scott says he hopes he will develop his interest in art even further in the future. He plans on going to college to play basketball and major in a field that will allow him to use his artistic abilities, although he has yet to decide what college to attend.
For now, the senior says he will keep working on his game, and hopes to uphold his reputation as a court-kleptomaniac and lead the Bulldogs to more victories.