In the backyard of the Scott home in Copperas Cove, Cory Scott dribbled a basketball, drove to the right side of the backboard, jumped off his left foot and canned the layup with his right.
The year was 2000 and Cory was 6 years old.
His father, Christopher Scott, a former collegiate baseball player, was watching.
“I saw him make that right-handed layup using the correct steps, correct hand, jumping off the correct foot,” recalled Christopher on Tuesday. “I said, ‘Cory, do that again.’ It was the first time he’d ever taken a shot and he’d done everything correctly. And then he did it all again. And that’s when I first thought, ‘OK, he might have something here that’s pretty special with basketball.’ At that age, kids just throw the ball up at the hoop.”
“I remember that moment, too,” said Cory, 18, now a starting guard for Midland College. “I could tell it meant a lot to my dad. I had never tried shooting a basketball before. But, after that, for quite a while, I really didn’t like basketball because I was so bad at it.”
“I remember when Cory was in fifth grade, and he was small, but he was scoring almost all of his teams’ points,” said Cynthia Scott, Cory’s mother. “He’s always had a drive in him that’s pretty special.”
The year 2013 was pretty special for Cory, too. For leading Copperas Cove’s basketball team in February to the postseason — ending a five-year playoff drought — and for the extraordinary accomplishment of winning the 5A high jump state title in May, Cory Scott is the 2013 Killeen Daily Herald Athlete of the Year.
“For me, as Cory’s mom, this award is very meaningful,” Cynthia said. “Our family feels very honored.”
Cynthia and Christopher have been married for 26 years.
“Cory loves to help others,” Christopher said. “He’d rather see you succeed than himself succeed. He always has a smile on his face and always wants to put a smile on your face.”
This past basketball season, Cory, a 6-foot-3 do-it-all guard, gave his head basketball coach at Copperas Cove a lot of smiles.
“There are so many great memories from watching Cory play basketball this past season,” said Billy White, Cove’s fifth-year head coach. “But one stands out. We’re playing in the LBJ tourney and Cory throws down this dunk over a 6-9 kid. It was fantastic to watch.”
Cory remembered that dunk, too.
“We were playing Redemption Christian,” Cory said. “The day before, I was in the stands with my dad watching the 6-9 Redemption Christian kid play and I told my dad, ‘If I get the chance, I’m dunking on that guy.’ So once we were playing them, I was on a fast break with the ball and he was waiting there to defend me and I had remembered what I told my dad so I had to dunk on him.”
Interestingly enough, in elementary school, Cory participated in track and field strictly because he thought it would help him leap high enough to dunk a basketball. He kept winning medals and earning district titles but Cory took all his awards with a shrug.
When will I be dunking? That’s what mattered.
Then, as a 5-foot-10 sophomore playing on varsity at Cove, Cory dunked.
“It was in warm-ups, before we played Lake Travis,” recalled Cory with a smile. “The refs were late to the game and the Lake Travis coach was still coaching his freshmen team in another gym. I was having a blast. It’s a good thing the refs finally showed up because I wasn’t about to stop dunking until they got the game started.”
The story of how Cory earned the 2013 state high jumping title is already part of Copperas Cove athletic lore.
Cory chose to skip track and field in the spring. His track coach begged him on the day of districts to do the high jump. Cory leaped seven feet, breaking his own school record. One month later, he again leaped seven feet earning the high jump state title.
“I knew Cory was destined for greatness the first day I ever saw him practice as a freshman,” said Cove head track and field coach Keith Stifflemire. “A lot of kids are willing to work hard on the day of meets — Cory worked hard in practice.”
As for the future, Cory has a goal in mind.
“I expect to play in the NBA one day,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
He’s well aware of how ambitious a goal that is. There are many skilled hoopsters in the collegiate ranks with the same goal. So, yes, there will be obstacles Cory will have to jump over in the coming years to make that happen.
But don’t bet against him. After all, Cory Scott knows how to jump.