COPPERAS COVE – Cory Scott has never enjoyed taking the easy way.
He prefers criticism to coddling. He thrives on brutal honesty and hard work, and his tough skin is just as important to his success as his soft jumper.
On Wednesday, the Copperas Cove senior guard signed up for four years of hard yet rewarding work by inking a national letter of intent to play basketball for Stephen F. Austin State.
After celebrating the occasion with family, friends, teammates, coaches and school administration during a signing ceremony at Bulldawg Gymnasium, Scott admitted playing for a hardnosed perfectionist like Lumberjacks head coach Danny Kaspar is a dream come true.
“He’s going to get in you, and he’s going to tell you how he feels the situation,” the 2012 all-district first team member said. “It’s not to get you down, but it is to make you better as a player. He’s going to make me better, and I like that.
“I know it is not going to be easy trying to get where I want to go, so I might as well just take the coaches who are going to get in me now.”
While the day was momentous for Scott, it was also significant for Copperas Cove. Scott’s signature made him the first Bulldawg to sign a national letter of intent to play for a Division I school.
“It is amazing,” Copperas Cove head coach Billy White Jr. said. “He has really done a lot for Bulldawgs basketball, and it is great see him have that opportunity to go off and play Division I basketball.”
Copperas Cove superintendent Joe Burns echoed the sentiments.
“That is a phenomenal achievement,” Burns said. “But we are glad he’s here for the rest of the season because we are going to need him.”
Less than 24 hours prior to signing with the Lumberjacks, the Bulldawgs relied heavily on Scott, who scored a game-high 31 points in an 83-70 season-opening victory at Pflugerville Hendrickson, continuing a trend of high-scoring games dating back to last season.
In the final six games of District 12-5A play last season, Scott averaged 22.2 points per game, including three games with at least 25 points and consecutive 30-point performances.
Obviously, Scott’s skills on the court were appealing to Kaspar, but his personality cemented the decision for the most successful coach in Stephen F. Austin State history.
“I’m not the easiest guy to play for,” Kaspar said. “I’m very demanding, so we need to recruit people that have some character and discipline.”
While Scott is an all-around talent at guard for Copperas Cove, leading the team in points (17.8) and assists (3.2) as a junior, in addition to averaging 1.1 steals per game and connecting on 46 percent of his shots, including 39 percent from behind the 3-point arc, Kaspar views Scott’s role within his program to be more of an off guard.
And the coach is expecting Scott to contribute immediately for a team coming off its fourth 20-win season in the last five years.
“His versatility will help him get more minutes on the floor,” Kaspar said. “We hope he can give us some quality minutes next year.”
First, however, Scott will be expected to help lead the Bulldawgs back into the playoffs – something he believes is a legitimate goal. In fact, Scott intends to finish his high school career with an impressive postseason run.
“I’m not going to take (this season) lightly,” Scott said. “I’ve still got things I need to do here for my team. Obviously, we want to win a district championship and make a run at a state title, so I’m going to give them 100 percent every day and every night.”
Regardless of if the Bulldawgs win state or not, Scott can expect to have White constantly barking at him, and he would not want it any other way.
“Cory is a kid who is going to work hard, but he doesn’t mind when you get on him and do some things like that,” White said. “Trust me, I have done so many times in the past few years. But he is that type of kid. He loves the game of basketball, and wants to always get better.
“The only way he is going to get better is to keep pushing and keep pushing, so it is great for him to have coaches who are going to push him like that.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org