The excitement in Josh Scott’s voice clearly increases as the subject matter changes. No longer does the rookie nearly averaging a double-double for MZT Skopje Aerodrom have to talk only about basketball. He can now also talk about his passion, Star Wars.
“Yes, I’m a Star Wars nerd,” the 23-year-old power forward admitted. “Oh, I’m pumped. I cannot wait for the new movie to come out.”
Scott is referring to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” - the latest instalment of the science fiction saga which hits theaters in mid-December.
The native of Monument, Colorado, loves going to the movies and said he found a movie theater in the capital of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia within three weeks of being in Skopje. And there was some major relief when Scott made it to the movies for the first time.
“I was really worried that it was going to be all in Macedonian, which would have really hurt me,” Scott said. “But the movies are in English and the subtitles in Macedonian. So I also get to learn a little bit of Macedonian at the same time. So far, that part of the transition to Europe has been smooth.”
The transition on the court has been pretty good as well. After some initial struggles in the Adriatic League, where he averaged 7.6 points on 57 percent shooting and 3.6 rebounds in his first five games, Scott’s game took off. He went through a five-game spell spanning the EuroCup and Adriatic in which he averaged 18.2 points and 9.8 rebounds while hitting 77% of his shots. All told, he has been worth 15.2 points and 8.8 rebounds with a 71.1% percent field goal percentage in MZT’s disappointing 0-5 EuroCup start. His performance index rating of 21.2 per game ranks sixth in the competition – and second among big men.
“I think I could be doing better, but that’s the same for every basketball player,” said Scott, who has come up 1 rebound short of a double-double in three EuroCup games so far. “It’s just a case of being consistent. I know there will be games that won’t be as good, but that’s just part of the learning process. I just want to go out and play. I know what I’m capable of. That’s the only thing that matters.”
One of the biggest eye-opening experiences of his career came in the summer of 2015 when Scott competed in the training camp for the United States team for the Pan-American Games. It was there he went up against some of the top college players, but also a select group of professional players including Keith Langford of Unics Kazan and Real Madrid’s Anthony Randolph. Scott was impressed with the Real Madrid big man.
“He was really aggressive in that camp. I was just thinking, Wow he is really always on the attack. If you take your time off with him, he’s going to use it to his own advantage,” Scott recalled. “But he was really nice to me and he just talks to you. I think he’s a great example of what a professional is and what a professional looks like. And obviously he’s a good player and it was good to compete against him.”
Scott is also engaging when the topic of his family comes up. His father and mother both played sports at the Air Force Academy and all four of his brothers are involved his sports as well. Scott’s mother used to even play pick-up basketball with the boys.
“My mom used to play with us and then she got an elbow that didn’t feel too good and that was the moment she realized we were too big for her to play with. She always tells us she said to herself: ‘I’m not going to get any more bruises playing with you guys.’,” recalled the oldest son, who was about 13 or 14 years old when that happened. “Then she went into mediating. Because things got pretty competitive as you can imagine.”
Scott has remained competitive on the court and features a game that is rock solid and fundamental. Both his skill set and his looks remind one of another basketball superstar - Tim Duncan. Scott had heard the comparison to the future Hall of Famer throughout his collegiate career, but to his credit, his answers didn’t have the feeling of a prepared speech.
“I grew up watching Tim Duncan. My grandparents live in San Antonio. Spurs games were the first NBA games I went to. So when you watch a Hall of Famer like him as I kid, I would be lying if I didn’t try to model of some that he did,” Scott said. “But in terms of a comparison, I always giggle. Nah, that’s an all-time great. It’s an honor, but I’m Josh and he’s Tim Duncan. There’s little comparison to be had. He’s a Hall of Famer. I’m just a rookie.”
Just a rookie excelling in Europe who cannot wait for the next Star Wars movie to come out.