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Returning Player Refresher: Tre Scott

Another year coming off the bench doesn’t mean Scott can’t take a step forward.

NCAA Basketball: Temple at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tre Scott is just the type of player that the Cincinnati Bearcats like. And when I say Cincinnati Bearcats I mean Mick Cronin. At 6’7” and 220 pounds, Scott is a lean post player who defends like crazy. That’s why it made sense for him to be a key rotational piece for the Bearcats in his first healthy season (he redshirted in 2015-16). With 34 games played, Scott filled in well, giving Gary Clark and Kyle Washington rest while being effective, especially on defense.

However, Scott’s playing time dwindled down the stretch. He played a total of 18 minutes in the four postseason games the Bearcats played. That 4.5 minutes per game average was far below is average for the season (10.5). The reasons for Scott’s apparent demotion aren’t entirely apparent, except for that fact that Cronin likes to lean on his best players in big games.

Scott may not be one of UC’s top contributors (yet), but he will still be a key bench player and for good reason. It starts on defense. With the ability to defend multiple positions, the former Georgia high school star has really bought in to the UC way of doing things. He ranked seventh on the team in defensive win shares (0.9) but more impressively, he was the leader in defensive rating (89.3) on a team filled with elite defenders. Clearly, when you are doing something better than Clark on the defensive end, albeit in short bursts, you are doing something right. Rather than being an overly dominant shot blocker, although he can swat shots for sure, Scott is good on help defense and is able to move between positions with equal levels of effect.

Along with his defensive prowess, Scott can rebound the ball fairly well. He ranked third on the team, behind only Clark and Washington, in total rebound percentage (14.4) and would have averaged a double-double (12 points, 9.9 rebounds) if he played 40 minutes per game. Nobody is expecting him to do that, as his minutes should fall into a similar area this season, with an average somewhere in the 10-15 minutes range. He could get more playing time with a bit more touch around the rim. Scott isn’t someone who can step out and splash mid-range jumpers at will and it’s likely he won’t develop into that type of player. That’s why his 50 percent shooting last season was actually a bit disappointing. With most of his looks close to the basket, Scott should be pushing closer to .600. Despite the less than dominant scoring (something not needed much this season due to the glut of offensive weapons), Scott was still an offensive positive last season, with an offensive rating of 107.4.

So what you’re getting from Scott is pretty apparent. He’s going to grind on defense, work on the boards and generally get his looks without a ton of defensive pressure or at least distance from the hoop. As we enter the 2017-18 season, Scott has one more year to be an understudy before he will get a shot at the starting lineup. Once Clark and Washington move on, Scott will need to step up and the only way he can earn that opportunity is by playing well this season.