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Southern's Scott opts for Heels over Terps


Two-time All-Metro point guard Melvin Scott of Southern High committed Saturday night to a full basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina, the senior said yesterday.

The highly recruited, 6-foot-2, 175-pound point guard - rated among the nation's top 15 at that position by most recruiting publications - chose the Tar Heels over Maryland, Syracuse, Seton Hall and Georgia Tech.

Scott made his decision over the weekend during a three-day official visit - the only one he made to any of the schools recruiting him. Scott was made to feel like a celebrity, he said.

"I chilled with the guys, played some pickup, met some alumni who told me I'd love it there," said Scott, whose favorite player is North Carolina graduate Michael Jordan. "We went to the football game on Saturday. They beat Marshall. And when I was walking on the field to get to our spot, the crowd was wearing blue and [had] paint on their bodies.

"People recognized me and started chanting my name. I signed an autograph for a little kid. The kid was like, 'Do you play for North Carolina's basketball team?' I told him, 'No, but I soon will be.' It was awesome."

Scott plans to sign during high school basketball's first early signing period in November.

"They said I was badly needed," Scott said. "The way it looks, I'm confident with my talent that I'll make an impact there. I'll be OK."

Scott may have made his decision after having dinner with the Carolina coaching staff at his home earlier this month. Tar Heels coach Matt Doherty was there with an assistant, along with Southern coach Meredith Smith, Scott's mother, Bridget Scott, and her fiance, Echo Shelton, who prepared the meal.

"They gave a great presentation of their program and the role Melvin would play in it," said Bridget Scott, whose son will major in business. "They guaranteed they had a program in which Melvin would get a degree. They were really loose, not shy or bashful. They were truthful about a lot of things. We liked their company and they liked ours. They were for real."

Scott, a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, averaged 25 points, eight rebounds and more than five assists in leading Southern to a 20-6 record last season.

Scott is one of only two players under Smith - in his 18th year as coach - to have started as a freshman. John Salley, who averaged 19 points in his ninth-grade year at Southern, was the other.

Smith said Scott is coming off an impressive off-season that included being named the Outstanding Player at the Five-Star camp, held July 19-25 at Robert Morris College.

Scott's Amateur Athletic Union team won the 19-and-under national title Aug. 5 in Florida after a weeklong tournament, and at the U.S. Olympic Festival Youth Development Camp for basketball in Colorado Springs, Scott set records for total points and three-pointers - nearly doubling the mark for the latter.

A B-average student, Scott's SAT score "is about 20 points from qualifying status" under the NCAA's freshman eligibility requirements, Smith said. Scott is slated to take the test again on Oct. 14, Smith said.

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