Ben Malakoff, Contributing Writer
Brent Scott understood that he needed a plan when his professional basketball career ended. He had seen many professional athletes around him come to the end of their time as athletes without an idea of what they wanted to do next.
Scott talked to his coaches and quickly realized he wanted to stay around basketball and “thank the game” by moving into coaching.
He graduated from Rice in 1993 before entering his professional career, which included time with the Indiana Pacers and in Spain with Real Madrid. When his playing career was over, Scott decided to go back to his alma mater, Rice, as an assistant in 2007.
After one season at Rice, he returned to the Owls as a coach in 2016. In his second stint with the Owls, Scott worked under coach Mike Rhoades.
When the season ended, Rhoades decided to leave Rice for VCU and asked Scott to join him.
“I was super excited for him [Rhoades],” Scott said. “Him and I had a conversation, and he said he wanted me to come with him. It was a pretty easy decision.”
Scott is now considered the Rams’ big-man coach and spends a lot of time developing players such as junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva, who earned A-10 all-tournament team honors last season and the preseason all-conference third team award prior to this season.
Santos-Silva, who was recruited by former VCU coach Will Wade, was excited when Rhoades told him the team was planning on hiring an “actual big-man coach.”
“When he [Scott] left Rice, we built a relationship real quick when I was thinking about staying here or not,” Santos-Silva said. “I owe him a lot. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now if it wasn’t for him.”
Santos-Silva played in all 33 games his freshman year but did not make a start and averaged three rebounds.
Last season, he averaged 10 points and seven rebounds, including a 26-point and a 22-rebound game against Rhode Island in the A-10 quarterfinals. Santos-Silva started all 33 games last season.
The same year Scott and Rhoades left Rice, so did junior forward Corey Douglas. Douglas played one year at Tallahassee Community College before rejoining his former coaches in Richmond, and he said his relationship with Scott has only gotten stronger.
“I look at him as a father figure,” Douglas said. “As well as just as a great coach. We were close at Rice but we are even closer now.”
Because he is 6 feet, 10 inches tall, Scott has been able to work closely with Douglas and get through some injuries that have held him out.
“He’s starting to find his groove,” Scott said. “He’s had some setbacks, but now he’s healthy. I think he’s going to continue to grow.”
Scott has earned the nickname “OG” from the team because of his experience around the game. This highlights his relationship with his players and makes him remember how important the life-long bond is that he also has with his former teammates.
“Twenty-five to 30 years later, I’m still really close to those guys,” Scott said. “Enjoy the trips on the bus or hanging out after practice. The wins and all that stuff are great, but it’s the time that you spend together that you’ll miss.”
VCU wants to continue to instill the culture of being a family by holding a tight-knit bond with their teammates beyond their college career. Because of that, Scott said he can’t wait to see where his players end up in the next 10 to 15 years.
“We are a family,” Scott said. “We all love each other. It’s been a lot of fun being around this group and obviously being at VCU.”