Two years ago, redshirt-junior guard Monty Scott played nearly 900 miles from home. Now, he is just 80 miles away.
Scott is from Union, New Jersey but played first two seasons at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
He has become one of coach Aaron McKie’s most reliable bench players in his first season of eligibility with Temple University men’s basketball (14-13, 6-8 The American Athletic Conference).
During his sophomore year at Kennesaw State in 2017-18, Scott led the team with 17.3 points per game, which was third in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Scott also led Kennesaw State with 502 total points and 50 steals in 29 games.
This season, Scott is averaging 7.1 points, which is the highest among bench players.
Because he was unable to play last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Scott observed how the team operated before he got to play, which helped his performance this season, he said.
“It was good for me to see it better on my handle and my shot and stuff like that to just work out every day,” Scott said. “It was good to take in the offense and understand what Temple was all about before I actually got into the rotation.”
Scott scored 22 points in Temple’s 97-90 overtime win against Southern Methodist (18-8, 8-6 The AAC) on Feb. 8, a then season-high. Scott played 36 minutes off the bench against the Mustangs due to the injuries of junior forwards J.P. Moorman II and De’Vondre Perry.
“I don’t think I doubted myself,” Scott said on Feb. 8. “I used to think back a lot to the player I was at Kennesaw, just being the leading scorer on that team and scoring a lot of points for them. Just coming here and fitting into the system is kind of the thing to figure out. I just always knew that I could score and do multiple things for this team, but I never knew really when it was gonna come.”
Scott scored 16 points and played 29 minutes in Temple’s 72-68 win against Tulane (12-15, 4-11 The AAC) on Feb. 12. Scott surpassed his point total against SMU after he put up 25 points in 40 minutes in Temple’s 93-89 double-overtime win against Connecticut (15-12, 6-8 The AAC) on Feb. 20.
“It makes me really happy,” senior guard Quinton Rose said on Feb. 8. “I play against [Scott] every day in practice. We guard each other. He’s a really tough guard, and I know he can score the ball.”
Scott made a three from the top of the key with 21 seconds left in the first overtime period, which tied the game at 80 and forced double overtime.
“I think I’m kind of used to taking tough shots,” Scott said on Feb. 20. “Being at Kennesaw, I had to take a lot of contested shots. I mean it was a hard shot to make, but I was confident enough to put it down.”
After Scott’s 25-point outing against the Huskies, McKie said he would like Scott’s scoring to be more consistent, but he is still getting acclimated to playing at Temple.
“It’s a new environment for him,” McKie said. “You would like for it to happen right away, but he’s getting adjusted playing with these guys. He didn’t get the opportunity to play with them last year. They’re looking for him, and that’s the good thing about this is they’re looking for him. He’s aggressive to score the ball, and I wanna continue to try to put him in position to do so.”
Scott scored 12 points while shooting 4-of-15 from the floor in the Owls’ 67-63 loss on the road against East Carolina on Feb. 23.
Even though he has played in all but two games this season and averaged 19.9 minutes per game, Scott still has to fight for more minutes off the bench, he said.
“It’s all on me,” Scott added on Feb. 20. “I gotta build my habits for the coach to trust me to consistently play this well. I feel like it’s all on me and my consistency.”