Archdeacon: Freshman thriving with some help from famous granddad

FAIRBORN – She finally gave grandpa something to talk about again.

Before Wright State’s 98-37 rout of Ohio Christian, an NAIA team from Circleville, Thursday afternoon at the Nutter Center, freshman guard Lauren Scott had played just over eight minutes total in the Raiders’ first two games this season and scored three points.

The minimal court time had a lot to do with the fact that she was just physically cleared to play two months ago after missing all but the initial four minutes of last season – her senior year at Worthington Kilbourne High School – with a torn ACL in her right knee.

The star of the Wolves team – she’d already scored nearly 1,200 points by the end of her junior season – she stole the ball at midcourt against Olentangy Berlin High and was going up for a transition layup when she got a two-handed push from behind by a rival Bears’ player, landed wrong and heard the “pop,” which was followed by her scream of pain and heartbreak.

Thursday, though, she showed some flashes of her old self as she scored a game-high 13 points, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds, had five assists and a steal in 24 ½ minutes of play.

“Everybody on our team appreciates her toughness and they’re all pulling for her and want her to succeed,” said WSU coach Kari Hoffman. “And she definitely did today.”

Up in the stands Thursday – which were abuzz with the noise of nearly 3,000 young school kids brought in for a top-of-the-lungs, squealing, cheering, dancing and squealing some more “Education Day” – Scott’s family liked something else they saw.

Her dad, Geoff, was there with his mother, Susan, and Lauren’s other grandparents, Diane and Bill Monnett.

“She was excited to be back on the floor,” Geoff said. “She played with such joy out there.”

Out in Maryland, Scott’s grandfather almost certainly saw that, too. He watches the games on ESPN+ and afterward often sends her a detailed, written assessment of her play and calls her on the phone.

And the guy knows what he’s talking about.

Her grandfather is Gary Williams, the well-known, former college coach who is enshrined in both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National College Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2002, his Maryland Terrapins won the NCAA Tournament.

In 33 years as a college head coach – at American University, Boston College, Ohio State and Maryland – he led 26 teams into postseason play and compiled a 668-380 record. Twice he was named the ACC Coach of the Year.

Today he’s a special assistant to the Maryland athletics director and a keen observer of the 5-foot-7 college player from his own bloodline.

“When I was playing in high school, he watched my games on Huddle streaming,” Scott said. “He’d send me notes and call and he was a great resource. He’s always good about the fine stuff, things I’d never think about. His brain just works so differently.

“From the stories I heard, he could yell and get really fired up when he was coaching, but he doesn’t yell at me. But he does give me a good list of things I need to work on. And he’ll compliment me when I do well.

“I absolutely love to hear from him after games.”

Credit: Erin Pence

Credit: Erin Pence

‘I can help building something special’

As a high school junior, Scott averaged 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3 steals a game. She was named the Ohio Capital Conference Player of the Year

She received several college offers – including from West Point, the Naval Academy, New Jersey Tech and Wright State – and said she committed to the Raiders because she “loved” the new coaching staff that was hired before last season.

After her injury, she feared colleges would rescind their offers to her, but she said WSU didn’t waver:

“They told me they had complete faith in me and trusted I’d be back like I had been. I really appreciated that.”

Although she admitted her rehab was “tough,” she saluted her surgeon and physical therapist and said she especially embraced their idea of not wearing a knee brace afterward.

“I didn’t want to play in a brace,” she said. “I thought it would constantly remind me of my injury and, honestly, now I don’t think about it that much when I play.”

She graduated from Worthington Kilbourne as the school’s all-time scoring leader in field hockey and with 1,192 career points in basketball, she ended up just 21 shy of the school’s all-time record.

She said she looked at Wright State as a place where she could make an impact in the program and help build a winning culture again:

“I think in four years here, I can help build something really special.”

‘She knows the game’

Hoffman called Thursday’s contest with Ohio Christian – an undersized, lower division team that is now 1-6 this season – a “feel good game.”

It was a chance to get everybody some minutes – the 12 Raiders who got in the game all scored – and get the team its first victory before heading to Ohio State in six days.

“Everybody needs confidence,” she said.

Hoffman was especially pleased to see Scott have some success again:

“She’s one of the hardest workers on the team. She’s just really eager and came in here with a great positive attitude. She’s willing to do anything for the team. She does everything you ask of her.

“I’m not surprised she did well today. She knows the game. She’s a step ahead of any coaching tip I give her. She already knows it.”

Some of that’s because her tutor is a college coaching legend.

As she stood outside the Raiders dressing room after Thursday’s game, she smiled when she about the coming call from her granfather:

“I think this will be a good one.”

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