There is no place like home.
Smith-Cotton graduate Dante Scroggins, amid his senior season at MidAmerica Nazarene, came to this realization when he could see the basketball beginning to lose its bounce.
“I just started to think about it this past year: I'm going to be graduating college,” Scroggins said. “Thinking back to when I was in high school, middle and elementary, I never could imagine doing this. Getting an opportunity to play basketball has been a great experience. It’s awakened me to what people can do when they put their mind to it.”
Scroggins will be joined by former coaches and players Friday at Smith-Cotton High School as the Tigers host its inaugural Alumni Game against Hogan Prep. Junior varsity tips-off 5:30 p.m., with varsity at 7 p.m.
S-C boys basketball coach Kevin Thomas said he hopes the night will help current players establish a connection to the past.
“You hear their names, but you don’t know who they are,” Thomas said. “Just kind of get to know our lineage. … It's always good to connect with people who have skin in the game, for our program.”
Scroggins has averaged 11 points and six rebounds, visited Honolulu, Hawaii, helped the Pioneers to a 9-5 start and, as a criminal justice major, landed an internship at the Juvenile Detention Center in Johnson County as part of his senior campaign.
Citing the support he received from Sedalia, specifically from Smith-Cotton High School Principal Wade Norton, former S-C boys basketball coaches Ray Hughes, Brennan Scanlon and community members like Chuck Marshall and Jim Donnelly, Scroggins said he wants to make a similar impact on Kansas City’s youth.
“I aspire to mentor and help people that need it,” Scroggins said. “Just know that it’s OK if you come from a family that doesn’t have a lot. It’s OK to be troubled. That feeling of being OK and making a difference.
“Everyone is different, everyone has different paces.”
Scroggins understands how Sedalia is perceived. Despite an all-state senior campaign, he courted limited collegiate offers at S-C. His younger brother, Kian, who plays at Raymore-Peculiar High School, is committed to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas.
However unfair or untrue, it is believed collegiate looks are more rare in Sedalia than at schools of similar size. Scroggins said that notion can change.
“There have been a lot of people who have been great and haven’t gone on to do great things,” Scroggins said. “I see that, and that’s the only thing I see, therefore I don’t think my dreams can come true. That’s all I'm here for. I was born in Sedalia. Yeah, it was tough, I was on an island and a lot of schools didn’t know me. But, it’s all about making the most of where you’re from and representing.”
Scroggins said he takes great pride in representing Sedalia and Smith-Cotton.
“You see a lot of great people like LeBron James, he tries to make Akron, Ohio proud,” Scroggins said. “I’m not comparing myself to LeBron, but you don't have to be the most talented person to make your community proud.
“I’m always going to have a love for Sedalia.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.