Scoring off a rebound

Scott makes changes by hitting boards, books at HCC

December 25, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Dameatric Scott has used the personal trials of growing up to set him on a path to success in his studies at Hagerstown Community College while using his basketball talents to be a centerpiece for the Hawks basketball team.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Dameatric Scott’s physical stature is his calling card.

He’s big.

That’s the best way to describe the Hagerstown Community College forward. Everything about him is big.

He has a big game that is pushed by a big drive to succeed. Those who know him are drawn to his big smile and big presence when he comes into a room. He returned to play basketball at HCC in the midst of big changes in his life, hoping to make a big impact on the Hawks.

Perhaps the biggest things about Scott are his expectations and dreams, things he now celebrates during the Christmas season. In that case, it’s a good thing he is 6-foot-8 with long, lanky arms. He can use them to reach for the stars.

For now, Scott is the centerpiece of an HCC men’s team with a 13-1 record at the holiday break. Scott is the leader and steadying force for the Hawks, but he knows he can’t do everything alone.

“This whole thing is a lot bigger than me,” Scott said. “A lot of people are helping me, but I still have a long way to go.”

To understand where Scott is going, you have to look back at where he’s been.

Three years ago, he was a standout basketball player at Greencastle-Antrim High School. He was a raw and growing talent who had the opportunity to play for a Pennsylvania state title under coach Garon Gembe.

But Scott’s success was tempered by his persona. A sudden growth spurt made him a 6-5 big man with a shooting guard mentality. He didn’t care for the physical nature of the game under the basket, especially when there was a 3-point shot to be had. He was considered high-strung and arrogant, at times bordering on self-centered.

In a sense, he was basketball’s version of a temperamental artist.

“In high school, I was misunderstood. I was very immature,” Scott said. “What people don’t understand about me is that I love the game of basketball. I hate to lose. I needed to grow up.”

That realization came along in the form of a disheartening sign.

“Six years ago, I had a lot of things on my mind. I didn’t think about college until my senior year,” Scott said. “I had a tremendous three years in high school. A lot of schools came calling on me, but when they asked me about my grades, it was ‘bang’ ... the door closed. It was a very hollow feeling.”

The slam of that door presented another for Scott. This one didn’t just open, he had to kick it down. He decided he had to make changes.

Many thought Scott would come to HCC after graduating from Greencastle, but he chose to attend Cecil Community College in North East, Md., one of the Hawks’ Maryland JuCo Conference rivals.

It was a move that helped redefine Dameatric Scott. Suddenly, the thing that came easy to him wasn’t easy anymore.

“It changed me,” Scott said. “When I went to Cecil, I wasn’t the best and I had to work hard to earn my playing time. I got very humble. I had to work in the weight room to become stronger. I was learning a lot more fundamentals. My game needed to be stronger. There were a lot of 6-foot-8 guys out there.”

Scott played 24 games for Cecil in the 2008-09 season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Scott kept that inner guard mentality as he shot 17 for 69 from 3-point range.

As the season ended, Scott came to a personal fork in the road. He took the path that led to taking a year off from Cecil.

“Going to Cecil was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Scott said. “Coming back home was my decision. I had been talking with Cecil about going back after a year off.”

He spent the 2009-10 season attending classes at HCC without basketball in the picture. Suddenly, another door presented itself to Scott.

“The year off was an up-and-down year,” Scott said. “It was frustrating because I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to HCC. I thought I would come to school here and go back to Cecil.”

In the background was HCC men’s basketball coach Barry Brown, who watched the kid they called Meter play during his childhood in Hagerstown and Greencastle. Brown casually approached Scott about his future.

“Last year, when he decided to come home, go to school and redshirt, we didn’t put any pressure on him,” Brown said. “He was focusing on his academics and I was focused on my team. But when we got to the second semester, I told Meter to come here to play for the HCC program.”

Scott wanted to play again and Brown wanted the dynamics Scott could provide in his program. But with the move, Scott also had to consider the added pressure of coming home to play.

“I really thought about going back to Cecil,” Scott said. “But I talked to my dad and he said it didn’t matter where I played as long as I got good grades. He was right. I take to heart that everything happens for a reason. Staying home and playing is a journey that was brought my way.”

Returning to play at HCC meant Scott would not just be a big guy who pulled up for 3-point shots. He was going to be a focal point and, more importantly, a leader.

“He said he wanted to be here and he wanted to be a Hawk,” Brown said. “I told him I wanted him to be a leader. He’s a natural. He has the enthusiasm to make the team successful and to get better. He has matured as an individual in his three years out of Greencastle.”

Scott has turned some of his negative characteristics into the positive traits that make him a good leader for the Hawks.

“He’s a very emotional guy,” Brown said. “For us to be successful, he has to be successful. He is taking the shots we need to win. He is a settling influence. He is all about team first and he deeply cares about the success of this program. We believe in Meter.”

And Meter has more than measured up for the Hawks.

The high school kid who gave the impression that he only was out for himself now is allowing the flow of games to find him.

He is HCC’s third-leading scorer at 12.6 points per game on a team that has six players averaging double figures, none more than 13.5. He is second on the team with 7.0 rebounds per game and is third on the team in assists and steals.

There will still be many tests ahead for the Hawks in the second half of the season. On the floor, they’ll be battling for a Maryland JuCo title, a Region XX championship and a chance to head to the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. Off the floor, the focus will be academics, helping players like Scott in the pursuit of bigger things, like scholarships at four-year colleges.

“The first semester was more about academic success than it was basketball,” Brown said. “If all the academics come together, I can see Meter running out at the old arena in Kansas. That would be some great memories, but we’re not here for that. We are here trying to develop young men to succeed.”

Most of his life, Scott has found success on a basketball court. Now he wants something more.

“The way I look at it is the main reason I’m here is for the chance to go on and get a job and succeed,” Scott said. “I want to get an education, go on to a four-year school and if I get that chance to go on and play professionally in Europe, I’ll take it. But I want the free education. There hasn’t been many in my family who graduated from college.”

In a way, it’s all about education for Dameatric Scott — not the one he’s getting in the classroom, but rather the one he received by maturing and making decisions.

“I’ll step out of here as a better person,” Scott said. “I’m glad for what happened because it made me who I am now. I learned a lot. I’m not moping around like ‘I could have been D-I right now.’ I don’t regret anything.

“I was very childish in high school. I think about that a lot, but I try not to. I like to let things flow and only take care of what I can. If I take care of my books, Dameatric can go anywhere he wants.”

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