As a senior Scott has played plenty for the Buckeyes, making 21 starts last season and has appeared 94 games in three seasons in Columbus. The point guard has had his opportunities, and made major contributions at Ohio State, but the 2014-15 season will be the first that Scott isn’t playing behind or alongside point guard Aaron Craft.
Craft started at point guard during each of the past three seasons with Scott starting alongside him in 25 games last year. Craft graduated following last season, meaning Scott will start in his natural position this year.
“It’s a different feeling not having him on the court with me, but I went against him in practice a lot last season, so I’m used to leading a different group,” Scott said prior to the start of preseason practice. “He was a great role model for me, and I’m ready to step into those shoes and be a vocal leader on the court.”
Scott came to Ohio State as the sixth ranked point guard in the 2010 recruiting class and 33rd overall player as ranked by Scout.com. The Milton (Georgia) High School product averaged 10.6 minutes a game his first season with the Buckeyes before increasing his contribution to 20.9 minutes his sophomore year and 26.8 last season.
During his junior season Scott averaged 7.5 points, 2.0 steals and 3.4 assists while playing in every game. That steals number was second in the Big Ten to Craft and Scott is already 10th all-time in Buckeyes history in takeaways. While catching Craft is unlikely, Scott is on pace to finish his career third in the program’s history in career steals. If he matches the 71 steals he posted last season, the eighth-best season in program history, he will finish second all-time. He is also on pace to crack the program’s Top 5 in career assists.
Coach Thad Matta is anxious to see what the senior can do with the ball in his hands full time.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was expecting a lot from Shannon in terms of not only his playmaking ability but that consistent level of play,” the coach said. “Shannon has had some great moments at Ohio State, that’s what I’m hoping for as he goes into this year. He’s a tremendous, gifted athlete. I think his understanding of the basketball game has really, really grown and now I hope that he feels that element of, I don’t want to say pressure, it’s a bad word, but respecting the opportunity that he had. And I know that he does.”
That opportunity comes with leadership responsibilities. As one of four seniors who have spent their entire career in the program, he will be expected to help along an otherwise young roster. His leadership may be even more important considering Scott will be running the offense.
“I always try to tell them to stay calm, and if they have any questions or concerns to come to me,’ Scott said of the young players. “I was in that position three years ago, not always sure what was going on, and I was always able to look up to older guys and ask them what I should be doing. I now strive to be that role model for them on and off the court.”
For the first time that on-court leadership will come with the ball in his hand this season.