Willie Scott, an outstanding point guard at King High School in the late 1970s and the leader of Bradley's 1982 NIT championship team, is the new head men's basketball coach at Malcolm X College in Chicago.
Scott, 47, served as assistant coach at Jackson (Miss.) State last season. He hopes to rebuild a program that hasn't had a winning season in more than 10 years. "I'm starting from scratch. My goal is to rebuild the program, use my sources from the city and show that I can prepare kids for Division I schools if they choose to stay home and play here in the heart of the city," he said.
Scott, a King graduate of 1978, played for coach Tom Bush on teams that also featured Teddy Grubbs, Michael Bland and Tyrone Adams. His 1978 team lost to Westinghouse, Eddie Johnson and Mark Aguirre in the semifinals of the Public League playoff.
He went to Hillsdale (Mich.) College, an NAIA school, for two years, then transferred to Bradley to play for coach Dick Versace. He was the point guard on the 1982 team that included Mitchell Anderson, Donald Reese and David Thirdkill and won the NIT title.
He played professional basketball in Spain, Italy and Argentina, then launched a custom clothing business for NBA players in Chicago in 1998. He moved to Jackson, Miss., to care for his ailing mother, joined the coaching staff at Jackson State, then decided he wanted to become a head coach.
Scott said point guard is the most important position on the basketball floor and argues with those who believe that combo guards or shooting guards can play the position.
"Most combo guards and shooting guards think shoot first, pass second. They don't think the same way as a point guard," Scott said. "A point guard is the general on the floor. He runs the show. He has to understand every position on the floor, know who to get the ball to at the right time, be aware of the clock and control the tempo of the game.
"He is a coach on the floor. He must make the right decision at the right time. He also must build a relationship with the other players. They have to love him and trust him and believe in him, that he will make the right decision. The reason that he is such a big deal is that other guards can't play point guard."