Despite national uncertainty, this has been a fruitful year for Trent Scott.
The Lewiston-Porter alumnus has finally found his collegiate home, as he announced his commitment to D'Youville College via Twitter on Aug. 12. Scott will march with the Saints as they leave behind the Spartans moniker and the Division III level for the D-2 ranks.
Most will remember Scott for his impact on Lew-Port basketball during the 2018-19 season. Alongside freshman sensation Roddy Gayle Jr., Scott helped the Lancers to a 21-4 record, a Niagara Frontier League title and the program's first Section V Class A championship since 1978.
Scott, a 1,000-point scorer and a 2019 third team All-Western New York selection, was a two-time first team All-NFL pick and averaged 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game as a senior.
In pursuit of an offer from a scholarship-level program, Scott headed north to prep for a year and play for Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Orangeville, Ontario. He believes the year in Canada allowed him to focus up and mature, as he lived in dorms on campus with the 37 other basketball players spanning three teams.
Scott's mission was to grow, not only on the court but off it as well. Instead of gaming the nights away or procrastinating on homework, the combo guard decided to form his own clothing line: Sayless Lifestyle.
"The motto is like motivating people to do more and say less," said Scott, whose brand can be found at saylesslifestyle.com and on Twitter @saylesslife. "When I was at prep school there was nothing but time, so I started up a clothing brand."
On the basketball side, Scott worked on his game by staying in the weight room and getting extra work in the film room. It helped him lock in and avoid the culture shock of being around hoopers mostly coming from Canada and others coming from as far as South Sudan and Denmark.
Scott was looking to sharpen several skills in his stint up north. But there was one in particular that he made sure to improve.
"The one thing I really wanted to improve when I was over in Canada was my leadership skills," Scott said. "Over in Canada we didn't do so great, but we still maintained. So like I said, Canada was a learning experience and it was an opportunity for me to grow, and I think I did that."
The Niagara Falls native is glad his recruiting trails brought him back to Western New York as he fielded interest from schools at the mid-major D-1, D-2 and junior college levels. Scott feels "at home" with courses starting this week as he joins a class with fellow Niagara County native Jaeger Martino (Niagara Wheatfield), who is transferring in after three seasons at D-2 Glenville State in West Virginia.
D'Youville head coach Earl Schunk has had Scott on his radar for some time now, dating back to his days as a Lancer. Schunk feels that Scott's "best days are way ahead of him" on the court, as the latter projects to play on the wing this season.
With Scott's high basketball IQ, do-it-all skill set and continued physical development, Schunk feels that his potential is unlimited. As the coach enters his 10th season at D'Youville, he recalls evaluating a young Scott while playing at a Daemen College team camp with Lew-Port.
"The first time I actually saw him play ... I'm sitting there watching and he plays very calm, he's got a really good on-court demeanor," Schunk said. "And all of a sudden, there was some kind of play where he got a semi breakaway and he just went down and threw it down. He wasn't as tall as he is now but I was thinking, 'Wow, there's an explosiveness in there that you really don't see if you don't notice it right away.' ... I think he's one of those guys that you're gonna get a lot more out of 'em than what would first appear.
"If you sat and watched him for five minutes he might make some really good plays, but if you watch like long term he does a lot of the little things during the course of a game that don't show up in the stat book too."
Schunk also praised Scott for his knack for the game, defensive length and ability to cause deflections, which he feels will all play right into the Saints' run-and-gun style of play.
The goal for Schunk's staff is to have the perfect mix of local talents like Scott while developing out-of-state pipelines, which have reached places like Florida, Georgia and Oregon. Being able to recognize local names on their roster, Schunk hopes up-and-coming athletes in WNY look to D'Youville as an option now.
Much more so than giving it the cold shoulder when it was still classed as a D-3 school.
"It's always good to have local kids because people can identify with them," Schunk said. "And just being here and they know some guys that play on the team, it just makes us more desirable to people around here."
D'Youville will open with an independent schedule for 2020-21 before joining the East Coast Conference alongside Daemen the following year. The Saints can begin to offer partial scholarships during that first season in the ECC as well.
Due to the NCAA's provisional process for programs moving up a level of play, D'Youville has a minimum of three years before it can play in the NCAA tournament, slating the Saints for eligibility in 2023-24.
Being in the position to compete collegiately is something Scott is thankful for. Now he can do as his brand's slogan says: do more and say less.
"I'm excited for the opportunity. Coach Schunk is a great guy," Scott said. "He's definitely a great coach. I'm excited for the opportunity to build up a Division II program, and be a part of that and be a key player. ... Obviously I'm gonna work hard in practice (and) still earn my spot because nothing is given. But I know I'll be in a pretty good position to contribute to the team like I know I can and will be able to.
" ... The sky should be the limit."
Follow sports reporter Khari Demos on Twitter @riri_demos. Also, be sure to listen to the 'GNN Sports Podcast, on Spotify, Anchor, Apple podcasts and more.