Thanks to two double-doubles and an outstanding performance on the road in Blacksburg on Sunday, Virginia’s Mike Scott received recognition as the ACC Player of the Week. Against Virginia Tech, Scott posted 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the Hoos start 1-0 in conference play. Just as important as his scoring and glass work, however, has been Scott’s passing ability.
Scott received credit for just 2 assists at VT, but his decision-making, floor vision, and accuracy with passes off of the block have been a key storyline to date this season. Teams, including Virginia Tech, have sent double teams at Scott or have tried to help on moves toward the rim and he has made them pay with the correct read and correct pass frequently this season. Scott’s passing ability always has been a strong suit in his game, but the biggest difference this season is that the receivers on the other end of those passes are consistently making teams pay.
Look no further than two possessions on either side of the 15:00 mark in Sunday’s first half for proof. On the first, the Cavaliers got the ball to Scott on the left block where Victor Davila kept him above the block and away from the baseline; this allowed Malcolm Delaney to come from across the lane and provide the double team on the dribble toward the paint. Delaney, as many ACC teams did a year ago, left UVa’s Jontel Evans open on the opposite side of the floor as a result. Scott calmly avoided the full pressure of the double team and skipped the ball to Evans, who took one dribble to 16 or 17 feet and knocked down the jumper. That shot prompted TV commentator Mike Gminski to say: “That’s one thing he wasn’t doing. He’s doing a better job of making teams pay. You can see Virginia Tech giving him a little bit of room out there.”
On the next offensive trip for the Hoos, Scott displayed his passing skills again. Once...
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