Omaha Central guard KJ Scott wants to play Division I basketball.
Odessa College coach Tra Arnold says he can get him there.
“I think after two years here, he’ll definitely be a Division I player when he leaves here,” Arnold said.
Scott, a second-team All-Nebraska pick by The World-Herald, signed with the Odessa, Texas, junior college last week, becoming the fifth player from the Class A state championship team who will play in college.
Akoy Agau is headed to Louisville, Nick Billingsley to UNO and Tra-Deon Hollins and Deandre Hollins-Johnson to Central Community College in Columbus, Neb.
Eagles coach Eric Behrens said he can’t remember another class that deep.
“The fact that we have five guys going to play college, I think that’s the best we’ve had,” he said.
The 6-foot-3 Scott averaged 11.5 points, four rebounds and three assists per game as Central won its fourth straight title with a 26-4 record. He shot 51 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range.
“He’s a big, strong guard and very athletic, who shoots the ball very well,” Behrens said. “He’s a young senior. I think his upside is really high.”
Scott didn’t feel extra pressure watching his teammates commit earlier. He wanted to find the right fit.
He considered Central in Columbus and drew interest from a few other junior colleges. But he saw that Odessa graduated several sophomores who went Division I.
“He said I could be a combo guard and that would help him out, depending on who they find for next year,” Scott said of Arnold, a first-year coach.
Odessa this year had players sign with Illinois State, Bradley, South Alabama and Albany, Arnold said.
The Wranglers finished 24-8 last season, losing in the region semifinals. Odessa is in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, which has had teams in the national championship six of the past eight years. The school has sent more than 100 players to the Division I ranks and 14 to the NBA, including Larry Johnson and Craig Ehlo.
Arnold said he liked that Scott was a solid all-around guard from a winning program. Scott won’t turn 18 until September, and Arnold thinks he’ll continue to grow.
“After two years of maturity and playing here and developing his skills, he’ll be a really good player,” Arnold said.
Scott said he’ll work hard on his defense and overall strength. He’s not worried about being so far from home, since he’s had experience staying in the dorms at Creighton as part of its Classic Upward Bound program.
Does he dream of playing someday against Agau and Louisville?
“Just a high major D-I would be good,” Scott said.
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