The UPEI Panthers had something no other team had to land Tyler Scott: familiarity.
“I feel like I fit in here,” Scott said. “I have a great relationship with all these guys.”
Scott played for coach Tim Kendrick for two summers, including the 2009 Canada Games team with current Panthers Geoff Doane and Deontay (D.J.) Smith. He also knows Jayden Skinner-Nordin from Halifax.
He said Kendrick has been, in some ways, like a father figure during his life.
“If I need advice with anything, if I need help, he’s always there for me,” Scott said.
The 21-year-old from Halifax was heavily recruited by Canadian universities and some American schools. He signed his letter of intent on Saturday to join the Panthers men’s basketball team for the 2014-15 season.
“It’s very exciting,” Doane said. “He’s a scorer, he’s a great player and we’re very happy to have him.”
Kendrick said Scott is the latest in a list of quality recruits to Charlottetown.
“This is definitely a big one,” he said.
“This will ripple. People will say, ‘Ooooo.’”
Scott is a combo guard who said he is willing to play whatever role is needed to help the team be successful. He played two seasons with Acadia and was part of an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship team in his rookie season.
Scott said he learned a lot from the Axemen coaches and players like Owen Klassen, Anthony Sears and Anthony Ashe.
He averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 assists and 1.4 assists in 18 games last season with Acadia and hopes to bring leadership to the Panthers.
“They have a good team out there,” Scott said as the Panthers warmed up Saturday.
“I feel like they just need to get over that one hump for people to recognize what they have. I am hoping I can bring that.”
Scott said he enjoyed his time at Acadia but the fit wasn’t right for him long term, so he decided to sit out this season.
“I think that kid has the potential to be an all-Canadian,” Kendrick said. “I think that kid has the potential to help us get where we want to be, which is AUS champions and national champions.”
Scott said his experience playing in Kendrick’s offensive system would help the transition.
“You’re a basketball player, you’re not a robot,” he said. “If you know you can beat your man, you beat your man, if not, pass the ball.”
Kendrick suggested there are other players he’s in contact with in an effort to recruit to the Island for next season.
“There are other pieces that we expect will fall soon,” he said.
The coach added the players have size and the pedigree the team is looking for.