December 18, 2019

Displaying his PU Basketball Bloodlines, Scott Making Impact for Hun Boys’ Hoops

By Bill Alden

In the mid-1980s, Joe Scott starred in the backcourt for the Princeton University men’s basketball team, known for his sharpshooting from the perimeter and hard-nosed play.

New Jersey native Scott drained 59 three-pointers as a senior in 1986-87, a program record at the time, and ended up with 144 steals to rank seventh at Princeton.

From 1988-92, Leah Spraragen distinguished herself as one of the best playmakers in the history of Princeton women’s basketball, dishing out 362 assists, the second most in program history.

Scott and Spraragen ended up marrying each other and last Wednesday, their son Jack, displayed qualities of his parents as the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted Pennington.

Sophomore guard Scott, a 6’2 transfer from Watkinsville, Ga., came off the bench to hit four three-pointers, play some tough defense, and make some key assists to help Hun pull away to a 75-56 win.

Echoing the approach of his father, who went on to be head coach at Air Force, Princeton, and Denver and is currently an assistant at the University of Georgia, and his mom, who was an assistant coach at Princeton, Dartmouth and Arizona State, Scott sounded like a coach as he described Hun’s mindset coming into the Pennington game.

“We just wanted to come out, play hard and play with our hearts and talk out there,” said Scott. “It’s just come in and get a win and go home.”

Getting into the game in the first quarter, Scott got into the flow of things by making some assists before catching fire from the perimeter with four 3-pointers in the first half as Hun took a 33-22 lead into intermission.

“I tried to stay patient at the start and not just come out firing,” said Scott, who ended up with 12 points, eight assists, and three
rebounds in the win.

“I wanted to get some assists and get other people going and then look for myself.”

Hun got going collectively as it broke down the Pennington defense.

“They wanted to play zone on us, so we were moving the ball, working it around the zone, and getting open shots,” said Scott. “Guys were in position to make shots.”

The Raiders kept making shots in the second half, never looking back on the way to the victory.

“We weren’t turning the ball over, we were just cutting and moving, just doing what we needed to do to get a win,” said Scott.

With his deep ties to the community, it didn’t take long for Scott to feel comfortable at Hun.

“Both of my parents went to Princeton and my dad coached at Princeton,”said Scott.“I know a lot of people in the area so it made sense. I love the campus, I love my teammates. I go into town and I go to the University.”

Hun head coach Jon Stone loves having Scott on the team. “Jack is patient, he lets the game come to him,” said Stone. “He is a great shooter and it is only a matter of time before he makes a couple in any game.”

It was only a matter of time before Hun took control of the Pennington game.

“We weren’t exactly clicking early against it but we finally got a rhythm, we got the ball inside,” said Stone. “We got some good looks and Jack made some shots.”

Junior guard Kelvin Smith and sophomore guard Daniel Vessey both clicked, scoring 18 points in the victory.

“Smith was pretty steady for us all game long,” said Stone. “Vessey settled down. In the first half, he shot an air ball and didn’t look comfortable. He looked very comfortable in the second half, he was terrific.”

Over the weekend Hun produced a steady performance at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament, topping Episcopal (Pa.) 73-53 in the opening round, falling 56-54 to Kiski (Pa.) in the semis, and then bouncing back to defeat host Peddie 64-51 in the third place game.

“If you look at our box scores, we have different guys in double figures and we have guys hovering around eight, nine points,” said Stone, whose team is now 4-4 and plays at Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 18, hosts the Phelps School (Pa.) on December 19 and then faces The Patrick School in the Tip-Off Hoop Group Showcase on December 21 at Elizabeth High.

“We are going to be incredibly balanced every night and it is probably going to be a different leading scorer every night. We are really deep, more so than normal.”

Scott, for his part, believes that the squad is developing some deep bonds which should help it going forward.

“We are getting some momentum,” said Scott. “We are 100 percent on the same page. We love each other, it is great chemistry.”