CHARLOTTE — After being sidelined by ankle surgery for all but the first 10 games of last season, Virginia senior forward Mike Scott received a lengthy to-do list from Coach Tony Bennett in their final meeting before summer break.
With Scott granted a medical hardship that allowed him to return for a fifth year, Bennett asked the 6-foot-8 all-purpose player to improve his outside shot, work on his dribbling, get better at finishing around the rim, become more active on defense and — above all — lay off the Krispy Kremes.
Before his injury, Scott weighed 242 pounds.
After his season-ending surgery in January, he ballooned to 255.
“For that month, I couldn’t do anything and was eating terribly: Krispy Kreme doughnuts and McDonald’s,” Scott said during ACC media day on Wednesday. “So I had to go on a Subway diet.”
Now pared to 235 pounds — the lightest he’s been since his freshman season — Scott says he can tell a major difference on court.
“Feels like eight or nine years ago. Feels like the Ralph Sampson era,” Scott joked. “But I’m definitely quicker. I move better laterally. I’m sliding better, and I’m more active.”
Through the 10 games he played for the Cavaliers before being sidelined, Scott led the team in scoring (15.9 points per game) and rebounding (10.2 per game).
Watching the final two-thirds of the season from the bench was “extremely humbling,” Scott said, but had its benefits, giving him a new perspective on the college game.
“It’s a whole new experience, really watching rather than playing,” said Scott, who expects to earn his degree in anthropology this fall. “I think it will make me a better leader and a better teacher.”