Preacher? Dude? Rug? Nope, it’s Mike Scott, that’s who

Joe Harrington

Senior Mike Scott cuts off his piece of the net after the win over Miami on March 4th. The win clinched the MAC East title for the Flashes. DANIEL DOHERTY | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

It’s minutes before a Kent State men’s basketball game. The crowd is blaring its usual pregame noise, but no one is louder than the senior forward stuck in the middle of the basketball team.

The 6-foot-7-inch Indianapolis native stands inside of a huddle as his teammates rock back and fourth around him. From the sidelines, it looks as if this man is a preacher singing to his own choir. There aren’t many pregame rituals that this automatic 20-win season program has, but his pre-game speech is as close to a tradition as Kent State can get.

The man is Mike Scott, the most popular and unanimous leader of the Golden Flashes.

It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, Mr. Kent State basketball, the Mayor of the M.A.C. Center, didn’t know the first thing about Kent, Ohio.

“Before I started really investigating the program, I didn’t really know anything about Kent State,” Scott said. “As they recruited me and it got narrowed down and they continued to recruit me … I started looking more into it and realized that Kent has a grand history, a really great history. I felt like I could really fit in here.”

But it took some time for him to fit in at Kent State. Scott came to the program as a guard and saw limited playing time in his freshman season. It wasn’t until his sophomore year in 2005-2006 when Scott became a force in the lineup. That same season, he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference tournament team, while averaging 11.3 points per game and 6.3 rebounds after moving to the forward position.

“It’s been fun just watching him grow and mature as a person,” Kent State coach Jim Christian said. “He was a young freshman and just watching him mature and handle situations better and just grow has been very rewarding.”

Scott has never looked back after his breakout season, starting every game his junior and senior seasons. He has never been more important, moving into the sidekick role after junior guard Al Fisher developed into the MAC Player of the Year. Also fellow senior, via a junior-college, forward Haminn Quaintance is a sure bet for MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

But this is where the “rug theory” comes into to play. In the classic movie, The Big Lebowski, the story focuses on The Dude and his struggle to replace the rug that “really tied the room together.”

This is Mike Scott, the man who really knows how to tie the team together. When Kent State makes a bad play, Mike Scott is there to calm the team down. When Kent State needs a big 3-pointer at the end of a nationally televised game on the other side of the country, Mike Scott ties the team together.

Who leads the team in minutes? Who leads the team in free throw-shooting at 84 percent? Fisher? Sophomore Chris Singletary? “Q?” Who? Mike Scott, that’s who.

But it’s not just the statistics that makes Mike Scott “The Dude.” No, it’s the demeanor that makes Scott the most popular player on this team.

“Mike’s never in a bad mood,” Christian said. “It’s very rare that he’s not smiling, win or lose.”

This is not a rare answer from people that follow this basketball team, all in all Scott really is “The Dude.”

“I’m a very silly guy,” Scott said. “I like to have a lot of fun, I consider myself mature, but I’m definitely a silly guy.”

Kent State is three games from officially punching a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Not surprisingly, the silliest guy on the team is the only one who has ever been to the “Big Dance.”

Which means for this cult basketball star, and Kent State legend, he’ll just have to tie the team together until he drops in to see what position his position is in.

Contact assistant sports editor Joe Harrington at [email protected].