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Take it from her coaches: freshman Peyton Scott isn't normal

<p>Freshman Peyton Scott has impressed people around Miami&#x27;s women&#x27;s basketball program with her production and her possession of the &quot;it&quot; factor.</p>

Freshman Peyton Scott has impressed people around Miami's women's basketball program with her production and her possession of the "it" factor.

One hour.

That’s how long it took women’s basketball coach Deunna Hendrix on the first day of practice to realize Peyton Scott wasn’t a normal first-year.

“She has what we call the ‘it,’” Hendrix said. “She has it. She just wants to get stuff done. We knew pretty quickly that she would make an impact on our program.”

Scott, a Lynchburg, Ohio native, has already made an impact in her first season with the RedHawks. The freshman guard has started all 19 games, placing second on the team in minutes played.  

They’ve been productive minutes, too. She is averaging 11.6 points per game.

Hendrix wasn’t the first coach to recognize Scott’s talent early on. Her high school coach, Whitney Lewis, first noticed Scott when she was playing for her high school’s youth program in the fourth grade. Even then, Scott was the de facto leader of her youth team, as she would be all throughout middle school and high school, Lewis said.

Scott continued that trend in high school, where she played under Lewis for Lynchburg-Clay High School. During her high school career, Scott was a four-year letterwinner, as well as a two-time All-Ohio selection and a three-time all league selection. During her senior year, she averaged 27.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, and five assists per game.

Scott also broke the all-time record for most points in a career at Lynchburg-Clay, finishing with 2,202. 

The person whose record she broke? Her coach, Whitney Lewis.

“It’s pretty unique,” Lewis said. “Peyton and I have a pretty good relationship, and we’re both fairly competitive … We always kind of liked to make jabs at each other — her more than me — and she caught up with me. I was super happy, super proud of her.”

Scott doesn’t just care about her stats and records, though. Although she racked up plenty of those in high school, she cares more about winning and being a good teammate.

“She never really got caught up in the records,” Lewis said. “First and foremost, she wanted to win, and that’s just her competitive spirit, her competitive nature. She wanted to do whatever she needed to do to make sure we were successful as a team, and that always came first.”

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That includes cheering on her teammates’ successes, even when she’s on the bench.

“She was just as happy to see her teammates succeed as she was herself, and that was the biggest thing with Peyton,” Lewis said. “If she came out of the game for a breather, if we scored, she was the first one off the bench, you know, just clapping and cheering for her teammates. It’s something special, not just a player, but as a person.”

It’s because of her success and humility that Scott still has fans back home in Lynchburg. Even outside of Lynchburg, fans of opposing teams would talk to Scott after games, which she would always make time for, per Lewis. Even now, after Scott graduated, opposing teams still ask about how her, and how she’s adjusting to college basketball.

“She didn’t just make an impact on our community, but also our league and everything else,” Lewis said. “We’re all cheering for her and rooting for her.”

During her senior year of high school, Scott signed on to play basketball at Miami University. She cites the culture of the team as one of the main reasons she committed to play for the RedHawks.

“I wanted to be a part of not only a winning culture, but a family culture,” Scott said. “And I felt when I came to Miami on campus, they really were bought into that.”

Last March, Megan Duffy, the head coach who recruited Scott to play for Miami, accepted a new job as the woman's head basketball coach at Marquette University. However, new head coach DeUnna Hendrix was already familiar with Scott’s game, having scouted a lot of Ohio recruits as the former head coach of High Point University. When Hendrix came to Miami, she knew how important keeping Scott would be. 

“In that first week, it was begging her to stay,” Hendrix said, “because I knew who she was and got to watch her in AAU.”

Luckily for Hendrix, Scott stayed committed to the RedHawks. 

Even though Scott makes it look easy, adjusting from high school basketball to college basketball is anything but easy. For her, the biggest adjustments were the pace of the game and learning the culture of college basketball. For that, Scott said her teammates have been very helpful on and off the court.

“They’ve been very intentional with me,” Scott said, “just pulling me aside or stepping in just to say small things that’ll help better myself and the team in general.”

Scott still has a long way to go in her college basketball career. However, when asked what kind of player she was going to develop into, Hendrix didn’t hesitate.

“Whatever she wants, to be quite honest,” Hendrix said. “I don’t know what her personal goals are. She’s a humble kid. I don’t know if she’d be one to ever share them if she had them.”

Hendrix is exactly right. When asked about her personal goals, Scott said she just wanted to help her team get better.

Hendrix has a bit loftier expectations.

“Hopefully, one day, her jersey will be retired in the banners,” Hendrix said, “but it’ll be right next to those championship banners.”

@LukasTheDream

nelso156@miamioh.edu

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