University of Maryland forward Donta Scott’s playing style is indicative of his hometown of Philadelphia. The six-foot-eight senior brings a hard-nosed and gritty style of play, whether he is battling with the opposing team’s bigs in the paint or draining threes from behind the arc. Scott has become a leader both on and off the court and is a significant factor in the team’s hopes to make a run in the NCAA tournament this month, but Scott’s journey to and impact in College Park is a testament to the player and person he has become.
Scott was no stranger to adversity growing up. He struggled in school, suffering from a learning disability, and would often get into trouble. That all changed when he found his love for basketball at the age of ten. Basketball became a driving force for success off the court. The deal was simple. If he did his work in school, he would be able to stay on the hardwood. When it came to his play, Scott may have been behind his other teammates early on in his basketball journey, but what he lacked in skill, he made up for in hard work and determination. When his family moved to a Philadelphia suburb, he took a 45-minute train ride to the city every day just to play basketball.
Success on the court didnt come easy for Scott.
“This kid was never the chosen one,” Delgreco Wilson, an academic adviser and mentor for Scott, told the Washington Post. “He was always the other guy.”
Despite this, Scott continued to grind. By the time he graduated high school, he was a four-star recruit, a three-time State Champion, and the 23rd-best player in the state of Pennsylvania.
Scott attributes his work ethic to his mother. Telling the big Ten Network that he would see his mom leave the house at four or five in the morning to work as a medical assistant to provide for her nine kids.
In 2019, Scott became the first one of his siblings to go away to college when he was recruited by the Terrapins.
He made an impact right away, playing in all 31 games his freshman year and contributing just under six points a game in a season where the Terrapins took home the Big Ten title. By the time he was a junior, he was the third leading scorer on the team. In that same season, his family home in Norristown was flooded during Tropical Storm Ida. In his time of need, fans, students, and Alumni raised over $60,000 for the family.
. “People still have good intentions in them.” he told reporters during the Gofundme campaign. “If somebody is down, they want to help pick them up. It’s showing me that people still have a lot to give in the world.”
In his last season at Maryland, he helped lead the team to a 6th place finish in the conference and his twenty-point effort helped clinch a second-round victory over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland would fall to Indiana in the semi-finals but secured a March Madness bid in the process.
Throughout his life, Scott has learned how to deal with adversity both on and off the court. In 2021 he put those lessons into a book called WIRED DIFFERENTLY. The book explores his educational journey battling a learning disability. Scott says he wrote the book in order to be a mentor for those who don’t have one.
“I just want to give back to communities where kids have learning disabilities and have certain problems in school,” he told Greater Than The Game. I’m here to give you a helping hand because I have been through some of the stuff that you are going through right now”.
View our full interview with Scott below.
At just 22 years old, Scott has been through a lot of adversity and has met it head-on. His message to others dealing with life challenges is, Go get help!
“Don’t ever be scared of what people think of you or will say to you… It’s not to make them better, it’s to make you better. Try to receive as much help as you can get, and never be scared to step up and speak on your own behalf.”
Through his book, he is trying to provide that help to others. An excellent example of what it means to be greater than the game.
Be sure to check out Scott and the Terrapins in action as they take on West Virginia in Thursday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament. If you would like to get a copy of Scott’s book, click here.