There are only 20 days until the start of the 2019-20 season for Maryland men’s basketball. As the Terps get ready for a highly anticipated year where they’re ranked in the top-10 of every major preseason poll, we’ll be breaking down head coach Mark Turgeon’s roster, which promises to be the deepest he’s had in his time in College Park.
Freshman forward Donta Scott arrives to College Park as a consensus four-star recruit and the second-highest player in Maryland’s 2019 class.
Here is what to expect from Scott in his first year in a Terp uniform.
Donta Scott, Forward, No. 24
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
High School: Imhotep Institute Charter High School
Scott, a four-star recruit who was rated as the fifth overall player out of Pennsylvania in the 2019 class by ESPN, adds depth to a team that figures to have a lot of options. During his time at Imhotep Institute Charter High School, Scott demonstrated his versatility by playing forward, shooting guard and point guard.
During his senior year, Scott dropped 25 points en route to Imhotep upsetting Oak Hill Academy and its point guard Cole Anthony, who was the No. 4 overall recruit in the 2019 class, according to 247 Sports.
Scott finished his high school career with three straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A State Championships and three straight Philadelphia Public League Championships. He was also a two-time PIAA Class 4A Player of the Year,
The Philadelphia native will get a chance to utilize his versatility as he looks to crack the lineup and provide a spark off the bench for the Terps.
The first thing that really stands out about Scott is his size and length, which are both suitable for the rough style of Big Ten basketball. His build is very similar to former Terp Dez Wells, who was approximately 6’5, 215 pounds.
Head coach Mark Turgeon didn’t want to make the comparison in August, but said that he has noticed some similarities between the two players.
“I don’t want to compare him to Dez Wells yet, but he reminds me a little bit of Dez Wells,” Turgeon told 105.7 The Fan. “He can play multiple positions, he can guard multiple positions, he’s got great toughness, can really pass the ball. I was really impressed with his passing [this summer]. He shot the ball well for us, but [he provides] tremendous toughness for us, which is great.”
Scott puts his length and versatility to good use, especially on the defensive end. Big Ten teams may want to keep their head on a swivel when attempting to go coast-to-coast against the Terps and Scott.
On this play, Scott leaps immediately after Duke commit and now freshman Vernon Carey Jr., jumps off of his right foot to avoid the charge and swats the shot. (Even though Maryland isn’t in the ACC anymore, the Blue Devil-Terp ties still run deep.)
Scott is not only valuable on the defensive end, but the Philadelphia native shows promise on the offensive side. With such a large frame, Scott possesses the ability to use his quick handle to get by defenders, and his strength to finish at the hoop.
On this play, Scott doesn’t fully use his teammate’s screen, but hesitates in between his first and second dribble, disrupting the defender’s momentum. Scott then continues into the middle of the paint and utilizes a quick left-to-right crossover to get to his dominant hand, where he gathers himself and goes through the defender’s body to draw the foul. Scott didn’t finish the play but has the ability to do so.
Maryland is getting a strong active wing in 6-7 Donta Scott who can take defenders off the dribble and shoot from the perimeter. He made the foul shots here and has a dunk and a jump hook. pic.twitter.com/gHDuWGDwnm— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 18, 2018
On the first highlight of this reel from the Southern Jam Fest, Scott catches the ball at the top of the key and immediately fakes a quick rip-through, driving to the middle of the paint. In two dribbles, Scott was able to avoid the help defender and get to the bucket for a left-handed layup. (Also note that fellow freshman Hakim Hart is in this video. Hart and Scott were AAU teammates)
Scott has the ability to get to the rim off of the bounce, but he also can shoot the ball from deep at times.
However, based on what we saw at Maryland’s open practice on Tuesday, Scott’s mid-range shooting can sometimes be streaky. If he can develop some shot consistency in his first year, paired with his size and ball handling skills, Scott could create some matchup problems for the Terps.
“I don’t feel like I’ve reach my full potential,” Scott said. “So I don’t feel like I’m an elite player just yet.”
Scott said Tuesday that he can score at the mid-range level but doesn’t shoot a lot of shots from that distance.
Maryland basketball guards are working on driving through coverage into the paint.— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) October 15, 2019
Of note, freshman Donta Scott is practicing with the guards. pic.twitter.com/B0yBJK7Plz
Outlook for the 2019-20 Season
Scott will compete for time at the three and four position for this Terps team. Scott is currently behind Aaron Wiggins, Darryl Morsell and Ricky Lindo Jr., but can earn minutes due to his physicality and aggressiveness on the floor.
Even CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein thinks that Scott will be part of Maryland’s rotation.
Palpable Buzz at Maryland regarding freshman PF Donta Scott. Rugged, tough, and downright nasty. Going to be in the Terps' rotation.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 11, 2019
On Tuesday, the freshman performed well in the team’s scrimmage, showcasing his passing ability and assertive play. He may not have a major role in his first year with the Terps, but Scott will provide Maryland with some additional wing depth and aggressiveness as the team makes its way into the later part of the season.
“It’s a long season,” Turgeon said Tuesday. “Hopefully our depth will allow us to stay fresh and be a better team come February and March.”