Winthrop men’s basketball has nabbed a needed big man with its final scholarship for the 2013-14 season. Jarad Scott, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Red Springs, N.C., committed to play for the Eagles and coach Pat Kelsey on Wednesday night.
“They recruited me really hard,” said Scott on Thursday. “Coach Kelsey and his resume and the places he’s coached, and he’s good at coaching my position, made me want to go to Winthrop.”
ESPN recruiting guru Dave Telep indicated that Scott was Winthrop’s priority after the Eagles signed two guards in the early signing period. The commitment, which will become an official signing on April 16, is a nice get for Kelsey and his staff. Scott had offers from High Point, Charlotte, Appalachian State, Marshall, Old Dominion, Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure and Tennessee Tech. Clemson, Oklahoma State, Temple, Syracuse and Miami (Fla.) were a couple of the high-major programs also sniffing around the 6-foot-8 stretch post man.
“What really sold him on Winthrop was the relentlessness of the staff,” Flora MacDonald coach Darrick Bond explained. “Coach Kelsey, coach (Mark) Prosser, those guys were on him from Day One.”
Scott rose to prominence two years ago, helping Flora MacDonald Academy to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A state title, though that championship was vacated last year when the school was investigated for undisclosed violations. Scott averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks per game for the school last season.
He was starring on the AAU circuit for South Carolina Elite last summer when Winthrop’s staff initially spotted him at a Myrtle Beach tournament in July.
“Whenever the allowable times for calls, they made every last one of them,” said Bond. “They made him the No. 1 priority in this class and they made him feel that way.”
Telep said in an email Thursday “He’s a legit mid-major prospect and was Winthrop’s top big man target this year. Excels in running the floor and he’s got a knack for tracking down rebounds.”
Scott joins a Winthrop post group that includes returning players James Bourne (6-foot-9), Larry Brown (6-foot-6) and Steve Johnson (6-foot-7). The Eagles already have 6-foot-8 Chukwudubem “Duby” Okeke, from Jonesboro, Ga., signed to join the team next season too. Telep thinks that Kelsey has got a guy in Scott who can play right away.
“My take on him following last summer was that he was a late bloomer. Winthrop locked in on this kid, made him a priority and sweat it out. He may start four years.”
Scott’s ability to stretch the defense with his long-range shooting should make him effective in the Big South Conference, a league largely devoid of traditional post players.
“He has a very, very versatile skill set,” said Bond. “Once he puts the weight on in the strength and conditioning program, I think he has a chance to have a very successful career and be that kind of a recruit that can turn the corner of a program.”
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T