Like any proud father, ask any coach around the country what his or her thoughts are on the team's star player, and you'll hear them get that tingle of excitement in their voice. Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett was no different when asked about senior forward Mike Scott on yesterday afternoon's ACC teleconference.
When asked whether Bennett is getting out of Scott what he wanted this year, Bennett's answer was quite simple.
"Yeah, how could you say not?" Coach responded. "Mike's had a very good year. A lot of the defenses are gearing up to stop him. But he's played hard. He's hit big shots for us, and he's been terrific."
Scott is averaging 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He shoots 58.8% from the field, 81.5% from the line, and 33.3% (just four of 12) from beyond the arc. He currently leads all active ACC players in career double-doubles, at 31.
But Scott's success this season wasn't a given for Bennett. According to Bennett, he was in and out of practice before the season started. Having played on and off over the summer, Scott's ankle would flare up on him. He did not play in Virginia's two scrimmages -- against Vanderbilt and Baylor -- and it was unclear exactly where Scott would go from there. Luckily for Virginia fans, Scott has been good about getting his treatments and doing his rehab, and the ankle is getting used to the consistent pounding.
Bennett also complimented Scott's work ethic and team mentality.
"The thing about Mike, too, I like, is he'll be the first to say, 'I've got to improve in this area' or 'I didn't do well particularly in this situation.' So he's still seeking for ways to help this team and improve. He's not one of those guys that's about trying to showcase him and trying to get numbers. He really wants the team to do well. That's refreshing to see."
As far as what specific improvements Scott has made to his game this season, Bennett touted his offensive versatility, as throughout the injury, he's worked on facing the basket more and stretching his range out. Bennett also complimented his ability to stretch the defense and get the mid-range shot.
"Up to this point, I've been very pleased with ... what he's done and how he's producing."