Shannon Scott keeps the G League Long Island Nets running steady
Point guard teamed with D'Angelo Russell at Ohio State and gives Nets a poised presence
Shannon Scott has never minded being in the background.
At Georgia's Milton High School, he went to three straight state championships as part of a loaded program that by his count sent eight teammates on to play Division I basketball. Even with that kind of talent around him, Scott stood out enough to earn an invitation to the McDonald's All-American game as a high school senior on his way to playing for Ohio State.
For the Buckeyes, Scott played in 143 games over four years, went to the Final Four as a freshman and the Regional Final as a sophomore while playing a reserve role, and shared the backcourt with a freshman named D'Angelo Russell as a senior starter.
"I've never been in a position where I have to go out and try to get 30 points," said Scott. "So my main focus was, how can I make a difference? I learned that with getting other guys the ball, being in position to score, playing defense. I really took pride in that."
It's a similar role that head coach Ronald Nored is happy to have him fill with the Long Island Nets.
A third-year pro, Scott is in his first season with the Nets after one season with the Toronto Raptors' G League affiliate followed by a season abroad in Greece.
"We have a couple guys, Shannon's one of them, that kind of makes this thing go," said Nored. "After games, they talk about Milton (Doyle) and they talk about James (Webb III) and they talk about Isaiah (Whitehead). Shannon is the constant that keeps it going. You know what you're going to get every day. He comes to work. He doesn't say much. He's one of the guys, along with Milton, that the players voted to be a captain for the team. He's a coach on the floor, he really is. He's smart. He's got a good personality. He's not the loudest guy, but he's pretty funny just in his own little way."
Scott leads Long Island with 4.9 assists per game and grabs 3.7 rebounds per game, pretty good for a 6-foot-1, 185-pound point guard. He also averages 7.2 points. After coming out of Ohio State in 2015, Scott played Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs before signing with the Toronto Raptors, going to training camp with the team and playing the season for the G League Raptors 905.
After his season abroad, the Raptors still held his G League rights. The Nets were thrilled to acquire him for a fourth-round draft pick the night of the G League draft.
"That trade that Trajan pulled to get him was a massive trade for us," said Nored. "This team would not be where it is without Shannon Scott on the team. He's our point guard, he's our leader and we need him to be that consistently, and he has been that. He's sending me texts at night and asking, 'what can I do, what can we do, to continue to move forward?' And we have those conversations."
Scott grew up in Atlanta with a legendary basketball father. Charlie Scott averaged 20.7 points per game over a 10-year career in the ABA and NBA. The first African American scholarship athlete recruited to the University of North Carolina, he was a two-time All-American who led the Tar Heels to two Final Fours and won a gold medal with the United States team at the 1968 Olympics.
During his second pro season in 1971-72 with the Virginia Squires, Scott led the ABA with 34.6 points per game while a rookie teammate named Julius Erving put up 27.3 per game. Scott jumped to the Phoenix Suns of the NBA before the end of the season, missing Virginia's seven-game playoff series against the New York Nets at the newly opened Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, though he did play the Nets twice at the Coliseum within the first month of the arena's February 1972 opening. Charlie Scott went on to play in three straight NBA All-Star Games and win an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 1976 before retiring after the 1979-80 season.
Shannon was born a decade after his father's playing career concluded, but basketball was still central to the family, particularly with his father's place in the fabled North Carolina basketball family.
"It was a big part of it," said Shannon Scott. "We were always around basketball. He would still do minor things. We would go to All-Star games. Being around his teammates and players that he played with were always around us. So you got a good feel for the game at an early age."
After his first year in the G League with the Raptors, Scott opted to go overseas, but had a tough experience in Greece. He calls it a learning experience but opted for the G League again this year and has enjoyed his experience in Long Island.
"I love it. I think we have a really close group," said Scott. "Guys that want to get better. But they also want to see everybody else succeed too. There's no selfish guys on our team. Guys love to hang out with each other. What I've learned, that can be rare in a league like this. At the end of the day we all have one goal, trying to get to the next level. If it's not happening the way people see it, guys kind of get mad and separate. Guys here really haven't done that. I'm proud of the guys and what they've been doing and how we're all staying positive working to a goal of getting to a championship."