You don’t have to drill down too far to understand that the sports programs at St. Ed’s are perfectly designed for someone like JP Scott.
Scott graduated from St. Ed’s after a long stint that began in kindergarten. He didn’t qualify as a lifer, though, due to a slight interruption after sixth grade, when he moved to Kentucky for family reasons. He missed a year and a half before returning for the second semester of eighth grade.
Three sports dominated his extracurricular schedule from his sophomore year on. Basketball was preeminent on his list of interests long before that. Weightlifting and cross country would eventually complete his coverage of the three high school sports seasons.
“Basketball is my favorite sport,” Scott said. “I’ve probably been playing basketball since kindergarten, basically my entire life. I’ve fallen in love with it and I just have a passion for the game.”
Scott is the first to admit that his love and passion for the game didn’t necessarily translate into headline accomplishments or guarantee a spot on a college team. He vacillated between the JV and varsity squads well into his sophomore year. He was never considered a starter, and you had to squint to read his statistics.
However, none of that detracted from his joy of being a team captain and proudly wearing jersey No. 23 in his final season. He said, “Coach Zugrave (varsity head coach Greg Zugrave) has really brought forth that kind of passion, too. He did that every day by showing his love for the game and by teaching us how to play.
“Being around all of my teammates was also a great experience. They are all great guys. This was a lot of fun and I will miss every one of them.”
Primarily because of his love for basketball and desire to be the best player possible, cross country popped up on his radar as a sophomore.
“I was on the cross country team for three years, and I started distance running because of basketball. I didn’t have a fall sport and I found myself being kind of lazy and not in shape for basketball. It turned out to be very good conditioning for basketball.
“Once I got into cross country I got competitive and wanted to win. Instead of cross country just being a pastime and conditioning sport for me, I wanted to do it well.”
His name won’t be featured setting any cross country records, but then again that is not the point. The sport fit in comfortably as cross training for basketball, and Scott found it to his liking even more when the competitive juices began flowing.
Weightlifting is where all of this athletic interest and training probably reached its peak. Scott referred to it as his third sport in the spring, but it may have moved up to No. 1 this year.
“I started weightlifting in sixth grade and that’s pretty young. Coach Rogers (varsity head coach Les Rogers) has been a big influence on me. He helped me improve my form and gave me good tips on nutrition and things like that. He also had good tips for improving my performances in the bench press and clean-and-jerk.”
That would be an understatement. Scott would be tied for the longest tenured varsity weightlifter training with Rogers if not for his move to Kentucky, and he concluded with a flourish that only a coach can truly appreciate.
“At the regional meet this year JP matched his best bench press with 165 pounds,” Rogers said. “He was bold with a 10-pound jump in his third attempt at 175, and he just barely missed it. He went three-for-three (in successful lifts) on the clean-and jerk, setting a personal record of 190 on his third attempt.
“His total of 355 was also a personal record. It always makes me proud when kids do their best lifting at the end of the season. JP trusted the system in his training leading up to the meet. The result was that he matched one and set two new personal records.
“Normally the younger kids are the ones making the biggest percentage increases over the course of the season. Through his hard work JP produced a 19 percent increase from the beginning of the season to the regional meet. That was by far the highest increase by percentage of all the upper school kids on the team.”
The beauty is that Scott can take all three of these sports with him to Florida State University. A pick-up basketball game will be easy to find. He can run anywhere, even to the nearby weight room.
His preference is to continue with all of that on some level while studying, as he told us, “something along the lines of finance or medicine.”