Published 12:24 PM EDT Apr 1, 2020
Time hasn’t helped Trevon Scott process the end of his college basketball career.
Three weeks have passed since the novel coronavirus outbreak abruptly canceled sports around the world, but the former Cincinnati basketball forward says he feels worse now than the day the NCAA and American Athletic Conference tournaments were called off.
“It will haunt me for the rest of my life because it’s a question that I’ll never get to answer,” Scott said. “How would it have ended? Where would we have gone?”
Scott returned to his coastal Georgia hometown this week, days ahead of when the Final Four was supposed to be played.
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His dad, Eddie, helped with packing up and the roughly 11-hour drive from Cincinnati to Townsend, a small community located between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. His sisters, Jada and Jadyn, rising sophomores on UC’s women’s basketball team, were already home, providing a family-oriented silver lining that Scott recently told his mom Anita was, “the only good thing,” about the global health crisis.
That’s not enough to ease Scott’s basketball what-ifs. Not yet.
“My family helps me, but I hate it more now because there was so much more that I had planned to do, and I just knew it was going to be a different outcome than my previous years in college,” he said.
“I felt better a few days after it than I do now because I didn’t have as much time to really sit and think about the season and think about the stuff that I did and the stuff that I was planning to do in the NCAA Tournament.”
Scott, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and and Sportsmanship Award winner, talked at length about what still bothers him about the end.
UC had “two or three of the best practices,” of the season in advance of the AAC Tournament, where the Bearcats were slotted as the No. 1 seed. A season full of adversity – among it a slow start, star senior Jarron Cumberland’s injuries and coach John Brannen’s father died – created a tough-minded team ready for postseason challenges, Scott says. This year’s NCAA Tournament would have been about attending to unfinished business, a phrase Scott, Cumberland and junior Keith Williams frequently used in reference to previous early exits from the Big Dance. But it was also supposed to be the first March Madness experience for graduate transfers Jaevin Cumberland and Chris McNeal, who opted for one season at UC and helped the Bearcats’ to what would have been a 10th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Damn, I feel bad that they can’t experience it, ever,” Scott said.
“We’ll never know what we could have done because of this situation that happened.”
With the next steps of his playing career unknown, Scott isn’t hoisting as many shots as he would like because gyms are closed due to social distancing orders. He works out daily, always cardio for conditioning and body-weight exercises to maintain strength.
“Just waiting on everything to clear up so I can get back to the gym and grinding again,” he said.
Scott continues to talk to agents for potential representation. Everyone, he says, has told him the NBA Combine and the window for private workouts with teams, “will be pushed back,” until the coronavirus spread is slowed and the NBA creates a plan moving forward.
Brannen told Scott to remain patient.
“One thing I have learned from the professional ranks, being a professional basketball player and from guys that go to the NBA, is it’s a truth serum industry, meaning they’re going to tell you the truth but they’re going to do everything they need to do to get the evaluations they need to improve their organization,” Brannen said last month on 700WLW. “Whether that’s now and whether that pushes the combine back three months, it’s going to happen because they need to improve their organizations.”
Until then, Scott’s basketball memories pinball.
He played in 108 victories, second-most in UC history behind Steve Logan. He was the first Bearcat to average a double-double (11.4 points, 10.5 rebounds) since Dwight Jones in 1982-83, the first at UC to post 20-plus points and rebounds in a game (22 and 21 against UCF) since Kenyon Martin in 1998.
After redshirting his first season and averaging 11 minutes a game combined his first two seasons on the court, Scott said he hopes the later stages of his career will make it difficult for UC fans to forget him.
“I stayed the course,” he said. “I’m a hard worker, so I knew that it was going to all pay off to the point that I’m at right now. It got me into a great position. Just hearing my name in talks with Kenyon Martin and some of the greats who played before me, that means a lot.”
These moments of satisfaction, however, are fleeting. Talk of playing for UC reminds Scott of how it ended. A season motivated by unfinished business turned into an unanswerable question.
Perhaps time, distance and an eventual return to the court will change the takeaway. Scott isn’t counting on that happening.
“That question will never go away,” he said. “That feeling will never go away.”