Mike Scott: The comeback kid

The conventional wisdom that had been forming on Virginia senior Mike Scott: If he ends up needing to miss the rest of the 2010-2011 season due to the lingering ankle injury that had sidelined him since September, he won’t be coming back.

My individual wisdom on this: He’s probably not an NBA talent, but he’s definitely got a career overseas. Scott is a little light at his 6-8 to bang in the post with the NBA’s elite, but his athleticism around the basket and range on his jumper would suit him well to the game in Europe.

Another year of college isn’t going to do him much good as far as that goes, my line of thinking went. It’s not like he’s going to suddenly bulk up to 250, 260, keep his athleticism, and play his way into the NBA draft – any more than a year overseas could show NBA scouts what he could do against pros, and at least he’d be getting paid.

So the news that Scott plans to come back for a fifth year pending a medical redshirt that UVa. expects he will get from the NCAA took me by surprise. And after talking briefly with Scott on Tuesday about the decision, I have to say, Good for him.

“As far as a professional career, I think I had a pretty good season so far, but still definitely more room for improvement,” Scott told me.

Through 10 games of what was to have been his swan song on Grounds, Scott was putting up first-team all-ACC numbers – 15.9 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. And he was doing it as the obvious focal point of opposing defenses as Virginia’s only legitimate low-post threat.

Scott’s early run was reminiscent to this long-time Virginia basketball observer of power forwards of the recent past who turned up-and-down careers around in time for stellar senior seasons – think: Junior Burrough, Norm Nolan, Jason Cain.

The difference with those guys: They all had full senior seasons to show how far they had come.

“I don’t think I was really on anyone’s radar for me to just say, I’m done with college, I’m going to get my degree and try to play professional basketball,” Scott told me. “I don’t think I was ready yet. Another year for more improvement with the coaches to get me a little quicker and stronger, I think this will get me ready as far as being able to play professional basketball.”

Column by Chris Graham. More UVa. sports at VaSportsOnline.com.

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