When fans talk about what the University of Arkansas basketball program and what it needs to add to the backcourt next season, a few things come right to mind.
There’s length, outside shooting, defense and a competitive fire.
Razorback signee and Irving MacArthur Rickey Scott (6-3, 195), currently leading the Dallas-Fort Worth area in scoring, appears to bring all that to the table.
“Rickey has just had an outstanding season for us,” MacArthur head coach Steve Hamrick said. “He leads the whole area in scoring, but his game has been so much more than just that. He has made his teammates better every night, he has been an unselfish star and the bigger the game, the better he plays. He rises to the challenge and he meets them all head on and with great intensity and desire.”
Scott is averaging 22.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists while leading his team to a 21-10 mark so far this season.
He poured in 28 points on Tuesday night to lead MacArthur to a 49-39 win over rival Irving and earned them a spot in the playoffs.
“It’s been a fun season for us and we have really worked hard and tried to be the best team we can be,” Scott said. “We are playing our best basketball right now at the right time and I feel like I am playing my best basketball at the same time.”
What Hamrick likes most about Scott is the fact that he doesn’t take a minute off.
“He brings it to every practice and to every game,” Hamrick said. “You have a lot of these kids who get the type of publicity he has gotten, who signed scholarships early and you see some of them coast through that senior year or just turn it on for the games. That is not the case with Rickey. The team and I get maximum effort from the young man in every thing he does. It has been an absolute pleasure to coach him.”
Scott has been very consistent this season with a high of 39 points and being in double figures each contest.
“I have tried to not get too high or too low, just tried to stay even and be there for my team each game,” Scott said. “That’s part of being a leader and I have really tried to focus on that this year and be a good example for my teammates on and off the court.”
He has had the chance to go against some great players including McDonald’s All-American selection and Baylor signee Perry Jones of Duncanville.
“He relishes those challenges, but he doesn’t make it about him and the other guy,” Hamrick said. “He takes care of his business inside the game.”
That includes being there for the big shot at the end of the game, which he has done several times this season.
Scott had 21 points and hit a game-winning free throw with 25 seconds left as MacArthur rallied from 10 points down to edge Duncanville 63-61 in overtime back in January.
He hit a 3-pointer over Jones to tie the score at 58-58 and send the game into overtime.
“He is a shot maker, not just a shot taker,” Hamrick said. “He has been great at hitting the big shot, but he doesn’t just throw it up there. He gets it inside the offense or he creates something for somebody else.”
Scott said he thinks his all-around game has improved throughout the season.
“I think I have become a better ballhandler, a better passer and a better leader on the floor,” Scott said. “I have tried to improve on every part of my game. I could always shoot the ball, but I wanted to be more than just a shooter and I think I have become that.”
Scott has watched a plethora of Arkansas games on television this season and has liked what he has seen.
“Since they have gotten Courtney Fortson back, they have really picked it up and become a very good team,” Scott said. “He’s a great player and I am looking forward to playing alongside him and all the other guys next season.”
When Fortson’s status was uncertain at the start of the season, Arkansas was talking to Scott about coming in and playing point guard next season.
“He’s amazing and getting to be on his team next season has me really fired up, Scott said. “I think it would be great to be on the court at the same time as him, back him up, just do whatever Arkansas needs me to do. I am just really excited about the future and glad I am going to be a part of it.”
Scott appeared headed to either Texas Tech or Marquette until he came to Arkansas Elite Camp in August and got to know the coaches.
Razorback head coach John Pelphrey and assistant Rob Evans really won him over, he came back for an official visit in September and was soon committed.
“I just love those coaches and I really feel good about how I am going to be able to develop as both a player and a person underneath them,” Scott said. “They really care about me and have been down here to see me play and just stayed in contact and encouraged me. I can’t to get up there and be part of the program.”