Scruggs makes fierce impact

From a physical point of view, very few high school guards can assert themselves as much as 6-3, 200-pound combo Paul Scruggs. And certainly, even fewer underclassmen possess that capability.

But strength isn’t all that makes Paul Scruggs unique. The Indianapolis (Ind.) Southport rising junior matches or even exceeds his strength with toughness. Time and again at last weekend’s Under Armour event, Scruggs got low, drove hard to the rim and didn’t stop until he got there or was fouled on the way.

Playing for the Indy Hoosiers 16s, he’s far too strong for opponents that age to handle. He’s averaging 10 points per game for a talented, balanced team and has shot an eye-catching 61 percent in the process. He has attempted only one three-pointer thus far in the travel season, preferring instead to size up his defender and attack with full force.

Of course, rounding out his offense to include more perimeter play will becoming increasingly significant as his peers close the gap on him in terms of strength. Still, with long arms and tight dribble moves, Scruggs is more than a mere battering ram.

For one thing, he’s a proven winner with his eyes set on another championship.

”This year, I’m trying to get out of it what we got last year,” Scruggs said, “which was the (15-under) title.”

His individual, long-term goal for high school is to transition away from a SG/PG role into more of a true floor leader.

”I’m working on my ballhandling skills, trying to become more of a point guard instead of a combo guard,” Scruggs said. “The coaches like me as a combo guard but want to see me be more of a one.”

He said he holds offers from Indiana, Purdue, Xavier and Kansas, among others, with Ohio State also showing interest.

”IU is on me the hardest,” he said. “I talk to Coach (Tim) Buckley the most.”

Scruggs doesn’t appear to be in any hurry and will continue to tour the 16-under circuit with the Hoosiers, which have leapt out to a 6-2 record and appear to be a national contender on the UA 16-under circuit.

Ranked No. 24 in the Class of 2017, Scruggs projects as a continued national presence in the grassroots realm.

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