His dedication was recognized and rewarded at the team banquet at the conclusion of last year.
“I won the team award for someone who encouraged everyone and was supportive of the team,” Stott said. “Coach said a couple of nice words about me and my teammates thanked me.”
The maturity that Stott exhibited during his tough time is something that L’Italien enjoyed personally.
“I’ve known (Stott) since the fourth grade and that’s one of the reasons you enjoy coaching,” L’Italien said. “You can watch the kids grow into young men and watching him grow last year, I was really proud of him. For as difficult as it was not having him play, it was equally as rewarding to watch his response. It was tough but he pushed through it, and he is definitely helping us this year.”
Playing basketball his senior year is not something that Stott was anticipating, for he wasn’t certain he would be allowed. His back still often times bothered him and he was fearful of another year off the court. Then he got good news.
“I was pretty happy and surprised because I didn’t think it was all the way healed,” he said.
The green light was only the beginning for Stott who had to regain his shooting legs and get back into shape after so long away from physical activity.
“I did a lot of physical therapy; about six months of it,” he said. “I did a lot of water therapy which is going into the pool and doing different exercises they gave me. Once I didn’t feel as much pain I started to do some shooting drills and clinics just to get my legs underneath me.”
After such a long road, telling Stott that he would be playing off the bench was difficult for L’Italien. A sophomore and junior got the nod ahead of Stott, and he was considered the team’s sixth man, first off the bench. Stott’s response didn’t shock his coach.