New school is old school for talented point guard prospect Honesty Scott-Grayson
If you need to write an essay on being the new kid in a new school, might we suggest reaching out to Honesty Scott-Grayson? The heralded women's basketball recruit will spend her senior year of high school at Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. As a junior she starred at Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia. The year before that, at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey. Scott-Grayson, in fact, hasn't gone to the same school for back-to-back years since she was in sixth grade.
Since then, she has changed schools seven times, adjusting on the fly and managing to prosper academically and athletically.
"It hasn't been tough at all," said Scott-Grayson, a 5-foot-10 point guard and the No. 16 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Super 60 for the class of 2018. "I'm quiet, but I make friends as the year goes on. I'm used to it by now. I haven't been nervous going into a new school. I just go in and learn."
In 2015 (that's three schools ago, if you're keeping score), she played for Team USA at the FIBA Americas U16 championship in Puebla, Mexico. That team went 4-1 and won a bronze medal as Scott-Grayson averaged 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in five games, including one start.
Now 17, Scott-Grayson has dozens of scholarship offers and recently began to trim her choices, eliminating Connecticut, Georgia Tech and Indiana from consideration. Still on her list are Baylor, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Texas and West Virginia.
But first things first. This year will actually be her second go-round at Riverdale Baptist. She went to Veterans Memorial Middle School (Brick, New Jersey) for sixth grade, Central Regional Middle (Bayville, New Jersey) for seventh and Life Center Academy (Burlington, New Jersey) for eighth.
The year at Life Center marked her debut as a high school varsity player, and she averaged 10 points for an 18-15 team. But it was a difficult experience, her mom said.
"She would come home from practice with black eyes," Makiesha Scott said. "She was a youngster fighting for a spot against older girls who were future Division I players. It was pretty rough. It took a toll.
"I asked Honesty: 'Do you want to stay here?' She said she didn't want to stay because she thought the other girls didn't like her. I explained that it was just because she was made a starter so early. It was the coach's decision, and she paid."
For her freshman year, Scott-Grayson enrolled at Riverdale Baptist, where she said she spent her happiest year. The first freshman to start at the national powerhouse, Scott-Grayson averaged 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks for a 25-13 team under coach Sam Caldwell.
But because the school is more than two hours away from where Scott-Grayson lived at the time, it was not an ideal fit. Scott-Grayson lived the first half of that year with a family friend about 30 minutes from school. But her mom stayed in New Jersey.
In January of that year, Scott-Grayson, just 15 years old at the time, moved back home with her mom and older brother.
Scott-Grayson played her sophomore season alongside incoming UConn freshman Andra Espinoza-Hunter at Blair Academy (Blairstown, New Jersey) and her junior year at Paul VI Catholic (Fairfax, Virginia), part of a team that went 32-2 and finished the season ranked fifth in the espnW 25 Power Rankings.
But all the while, she longed to return to Riverdale Baptist. And now that her mom has moved just 30 minutes from the school, Scott-Grayson is once again the new kid. The happy new kid.
"I have a great feeling about it," Scott-Grayson said. "I'm excited to go back to all my friends. It's just going to be great. I felt like I was home the first time I was there, but I was too far away from my mom."
As a single mother, Makiesha Scott has a special relationship with her only daughter. She named her Honesty after also considering the name Diamond, which is her birthstone.
"I'm a big advocate of telling the truth and being honest," Makiesha Scott said. "When she came out, she had a serious face. She looked so honest. I couldn't resist."
Scott said she tried both names on her newborn before making her final decision.
"I whispered 'Diamond' to her, but I didn't get a budge or a movement out of her," Scott said. "I whispered 'Honesty,' and I got a little smirk, and she kind of wiggled. I said, 'Honesty it is!'
Other decisions weren't quite as clear-cut.
When Scott-Grayson was 5 and her brother, Tyreek, was 6, their mom signed them up for summer activities. Tyreek was to play football, and Honesty was to try cheerleading.
Neither child was thrilled.
Before the first morning of the activities, they got a basketball from their closet and woke up their mother. Makiesha, the second-oldest of nine children, played high school basketball but never went further with the game due to her family obligations.
When she realized what her kids wanted, she was overjoyed.
"I said, 'God is giving me a gift,'" she said. "I didn't fulfill my dreams, but now they are playing the game I love. From then on, they went everywhere with that ball. They slept with a basketball, and we sat at the dinner table on many a night, talking about the game."
Scott said Tyreek, who is 6-5 and is looking for a college program to join, challenged Honesty on the practice court, making her better.
By age 7, Scott-Grayson was amazing observers with her ballhandling skills, dribbling behind her back on the way to the rim. Today she stands out for her quickness and athleticism. She's also becoming a threat to the arc.
In addition to Scott-Grayson, Riverdale Baptist also has a new coach this season. Former George Washington University head coach Mike Bozeman was hired to take over at Riverdale Baptist in March.
"I know her skill set," Bozeman said. "It's uncanny."
Scott-Grayson, who is undecided on whether she will study forensic science or music production in college, said she wants to work on her defense and leadership skills during her senior year. And to pump up her 3.0 GPA.
"Academically, I want to get my diploma with straight A's," she said. "In basketball, I want to make it my best year. I want to go out with a bang and hopefully win a national title because you can't get your senior year back."