By Jeremy Bauman / @JBauman13
“Not hold anything back and just go as hard as I can, pretty much,” burst Durand Scott’s voice through the phone. “That’s my objective, that’s my goal. That’s something that everybody is expecting out of me, so that’s something I definitely want to do.”
Since the age of 14, Durand Scott has been living with this moniker in mind. When his father, Duke W. Scott, passed away abruptly following a heart attack, Scott was at the tail end of eighth grade and entering a crucial stretch for any teenager.
Rather than let the emotions of this tragic experience overtake him, Scott took the tougher and more mature angle to the situation.
“Pretty much after he passed, I just wanted to take everything I do in life more seriously,” explained Scott. “I just wanted to make sure that, since I play basketball, I take it as seriously as I can for him.”
Though the times were rough for Scott, he was fortunate to have a bevy of close friends and family by his side then and for as long as he can remember. Chris Fouch, a lethal scoring guard for the Drexel Dragons, and Scott have been best friends since they were eight years old. They grew up playing together with the famed New York Gauchos AAU team in the South Bronx, and over time formed a strong, familial bond with their teammates on the AAU circuit. Among the group is current Charlotte Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker, WVU point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant, Marist small forward Dorvell Carter, and Seton Hall point guard Jordan Theodore—all of whom have added “F4L” to their body in some form or fashion to remind them of their “Family 4 Life” bond.
A superb outlook on life is one thing, but killer instinct on the court simply cannot be taught.
One thing is certain: For as far back as anybody can remember, Durand Scott has possessed an assassin’s edge when he laces up his sneakers and hits the pine.
As a witness to his cold-blooded nature, I can remember when Durand Scott was playing up for the first time on my 16U level Gauchos team (yes, I was a member) at the annual Gym Rat Challenge in Albany, NY. After a grueling Sunday consisting of about seven games without much rest, we were down by two in the final minute of a game against the New Jersey Shore Shots.
Who stepped up and confidently knocked home the tournament-clinching triple from the corner in the waning seconds? None other than Durand.
In talking with his former assistant with the New York Gauchos and current Hoop Group Director Chad Babel, it’s easy to see why Scott has been able to excel thus far in his collegiate career.
“My thing with Durand is that it was easy to tell he was a special kid at an early age,” explained Mr. Babel. “His willingness to compete and desire to win stood out from the rest of the players.
“I guess the example that personifies that competitiveness was the 2008 Memorial Day Classic. Durand played with a broken hand and was literally carrying us all weekend. He averaged 28-30 points per game, all the way to through the championship game.”
But Scott wasn’t just an offensive player, and this next story helps to give the reader even more of a peak into the type of player and person he is.
According to Babel, Scott was a versatile defender on the court—he was routinely assigned to the other team’s most dynamic offensive weapon, regardless of position—and was always up for a new challenge. It’s not that this is the only time that an occurrence like this happened, but Mr. Babel pointed to this particular episode to help quantify the heart that Scott has on and away from the hardwood.
“There was one time where there was a 6-9, 300-pound kid named Marcus Good from the Carolina Ravens, who was doing work in the post all game,” elaborated Babel. “He was a load, and Durand came into the huddle and said ‘Coach, I want him!’ We all looked at Durand and told him to do what he does. He fronted the post the first time and they couldn’t get it in. He fronted him again, and stole the ball. The third time he fronted him and forced a rushed shot.”
Continued Babel, “His willingness to take adversity head on, not just in basketball but in life, that has to be his most unique trait.”
During those formative AAU years with his close friends, the Gauchos put together one of the most memorable and improbable stretches in recent memory. The team won four straight tournaments—the Cactus Classic, Nike Main Event, Pittsburgh Jam Fest, and Peach Jam—against national competition.
“Having fun,” recalls Scott of his team’s glory. “Everybody was just happy. It didn’t matter how we won because we were so close. Those were probably some of the best times.”