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Former Blazer succeeds on court

Ernest Scott, a standout basketball player, walked off VSU’s campus after graduation in 2005 and boarded the proverbial plane for his future. His destination would be the NBA, but it would not be a nonstop flight nor would it be turbulence-free.
Scott arrived at VSU in the summer after his senior year at Marietta High School to attend open tryouts for Coach Jim Yarbrough and the Blazers. The tryouts were a successful venture for the aspiring basket-baller, who drove himself down from Atlanta just for the opportunity.
“My first impression of Ernest was how this skinny, and I mean skinny, kid was able to compete during an open try-out session at VSU,” Yarbrough said. “He had this nice skill set and feel for the game. His knowledge was superior to his physical ability.”
Scott made his way onto the Blazers and aimed at bettering his own game and the team during his college career. He quickly turned his potential into a powerful force on the court during games and practices.
It came time for Scott to move on from his surprisingly successful college career, having led the Blazers to two NCAA tournament appearances, including a No. 3 national ranking in his senior season. Scott had to make a decision: stay at VSU and take a graduate assistantship job under his coach or take a job at a Georgia company—he received an offer from AT&T among others.
As it turns out his mother had a different plan, some would say a better one.
“I had a talk with [Scott’s mom] about what is going to make me happy in life and I could always get a job in the future,” Scott said. “It was about going after my goals and my dreams and just being happy. I really owe all of it to her.”
Scott decided to buy the ticket to professional basketball, the final destination being the NBA. However, the ambitious young athlete didn’t fully realize his flight would be long and even a little rough.
His first stop was Germany, where he played the American superstar for four months. By the middle of his first season in the professional world of sports, he was already being traded to another team and another country. Luxemburg was his next layover, which lasted only until the end of the ’04-’05 season. In ’05-‘06 he spent an entire season in Switzerland playing the game he loved and making a living at the same time.
The succeeding European star’s next stop would prove to be his most turbulent as he landed in Trier, Germany for the ’06-’07 season.
“My second time in Germany, I went through some adversity being away for a long time,” Scott said. “I didn’t really visit home or get to spend much time at home. It strengthened me a lot in my career and my resolve and it helped me to realize this was something I was really passionate about doing.”
The overseas turmoil ended with a huge break, as Scott was given the chance to work out with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the following summer. Though he was cut just before tryouts, it opened up the American runways for Scott to make his way back onto American courts.
He made it into the NBA Developmental league playing with the Idaho Stampede during the ’07-’08 season. The Stampede went on to win the D-League championship that season with Scott’s contributions. However, the former European star was traded after the season to another D-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Scott is just one call up away from playing in the NBA these days as he continues to contribute to the Vipers D-League success. As it turns out the desired destination for Scott wasn’t quite the NBA after all.
“Just to be able to make a living doing this,” Scott said. “There are a lot worse things I could be doing with my life right now at twenty-seven. I mean, yeah, [making it to the NBA] is definitely always a goal of mine and anyone that is in this sport. To at least get an opportunity to get to the next level, if not then I could always go to Europe and make a good living there. It’s not a bad second option.”
As a college graduate, Scott had the opportunity to settle for a life of familiarity and comfort, but it just didn’t feel right to the young athlete. He had a desire to go much further. The dream of playing professional basketball is Scott’s reality. That plane ride has been rough and exciting, but as far as the professional basketball player is concerned it has been worth the price of the ticket.
Scott can be seen playing live with the Vipers on NBA Futurecast at nba.com/dleague.

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