Urbana Guard Heading To Duke


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Urbana guard heading to Duke

URBANA — When she trimmed her list from dozens of schools to six late last week, Urbana girls’ basketball sharpshooter Arieal Scott had no intention of choosing her future college until after the season.

Then, the junior went to visit Duke over the weekend, and plans were thrown out the window.

“One thing that’s truly important to me is relationships, and I just felt like everybody truly cared about me there and everybody loved me there,” Scott said. “After getting that feeling, and after seeing that the basketball team is doing really well, to add the academics and everything together, I would be stupid not to commit there.”

Before the Blue Devils topped Charleston 129-46 in an exhibition game, Scott pledged to join coach Joanne McCallie’s program.

McCallie secured the No. 7 2017 recruiting class in the country, according to prospectsnation.com, but Scott’s commitment filled a need in the 2018 class with shooter Rebecca Greenwell graduating the year before Scott arrives.

“My spot will open up, and they don’t have any other shooters in the 2017 class, so I’m the No. 1 priority in the 2018 class because they need a shooter,” Scott said. “(McCallie) also sees me playing a key role, if I practice well enough to do that, to play in the first game.”

“She also wants me to be a combo guard because she thinks I can run the point as well,” Scott added. “That’s cool because a lot of people see me as a shooting guard, but she sees me as an actual basketball player.”

Every year from 2010 to 2013, Duke won the ACC and made the Elite Eight, but last year the Blue Devils finished 20-12 overall and 8-8 in conference play and missed out on the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 seasons. Scott sees them beginning another streak imminently.

“They’re really headed in the right direction,” Scott said. “Their 2017 class is great. … They’re on the up-and-coming even though they didn’t make it last year. They had some struggles, but I have no worries about Coach (McCallie) and her staff. They know what they’re doing, they know where they want to go, they know where I want to go. I want to help them get to the next level. They’ve only been to the Elite Eight, so hopefully one year of mine we can make it further than that.”

One of the most difficult parts, Scott said, of her commitment was telling Illinois coach Matt Bollant of her decision. The Illini offered her a scholarship in the eighth grade.

“It was really hard to break the news to him, but he was by far the most kind out of everyone I talked to,” Scott said of Bollant, whose daughter, Regan, is a close friend. “I was really sad, but I feel like we’ll still be in contact.”

Scott transferred to Urbana at the start of the school year from Schlarman Academy, where she played under coach Keith Peoples and alongside his daughter, Anaya Peoples, who is a highly-touted recruit. Now, she plays under former college assistant Chris Mennig.

Both Keith Peoples and Mennig helped guide Scott through her recruitment, but now her career’s full focus will be on development as a player.

“It’s a relief,” she said. “I’m done. I loved the process. Coach Peoples taught me from the very beginning, and coach Mennig when I got here, he helped me. Those two, plus myself and my parents, we all made it simple.

“Usually, it can get stressful, but we all took care of the things that we needed to take care of. It just feels like, ‘OK, this is where I need to go and what I need to work on,’ and everything is stress-free. I’m so excited. It’s really hard to believe. I’m still in shock right now.”

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