Arkansas women’s basketball program landed the signature of Winter Park (Fla.) St, John’s County Day 5-star point guard prospect Taliah Scott (5-9) on Tuesday.
Scott is one of the nation’s top 10 players per ESPN and averaged 31.4 points and 6.9 rebounds a game last season.
She joins Farmington four star forward Jenna Lawrence (6-3) and Derby, Kan., guard Maryn Archer (5-9) as Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors’ three players inked to national letters of intent in the early signing period.
Scott, who committed to the Razorbacks back on Sept. 15, 2021, chose Arkansas over Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Texas, Alabama, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Virginia and numerous others.
Going into her senior season season opener Tuesday night with 1,829 career points, Scott signed at her high school and thanked her parents Derrick and Marika during her signing ceremony.
“I’m just super blessed to have the best parents in the world for making all this happen,” Scott told Justin Barney TV station NEWS4Jax. “I didn’t know exactly what it was gonna be. They kept it a surprise until today, but I just I’m so blessed for them and they made this like the best signing they could have possibly ever been.
“I’m so happy. And then having the support from the school, all the teachers and faculty are here. It just made it so much better, made it so surreal.”
A special guest at the ceremony was a baby pig.
“I was joking about it,” Scott said. “I was telling my team, ‘like yeah, I’m about to get a pig off of Craigslist. I’m going to bring it in.’ And then today, people asked, ‘Are you really getting a pig?’ And I was like, ‘Oh no, I don’t think so. Craigslist fell through.’
“And then to see them walk in with a pig was just crazy. It was hilarious.”
Jacksonville-based FGB AAU basketball coach Kenny Kallina said it was about the fit with Scott and Arkansas.
“I think when you have as good a player at Taliah, a lot of times they get caught up in the UConn, Tennessee or whatever the narrative at the time is of the best programs in the country,” Kallina told Hogville Tuesday morning. “But Taliah and her family, through the whole process, wanted to go somewhere that fit her and she could play her game.
“A couple of years ago she went to USA Basketball and they tried to change her and it didn’t feel comfortable to her. But watching Coach Neighbors coach at Washington and Arkansas, it was important for her to go someplace she could be herself and not try to change her.”
Scott committed to Arkansas back on Sept. 15, 2021, after taking her official visit during the Razorback football team’s 40-21 win over Texas before a sold out crowd.
“She committed after that Arkanas-Texas football game, which was pretty emotional time and an emotional time for her as well,” Kallina said.
“People did keep coming after her, kept calling me and asking ‘are you sure she is going to Arkansas?’ I would just tell them that you would have to talk to her and her family. She has parents and a great support system and I was just very thankful she played for us.”
Kallina stressed that opposing coaches were pitching their programs instead of downgrading Arkansas.
“I will tell you this, Coach Neighbors is so respected that the other coaches didn’t down Arkansas. They know that Arkansas is well on its way to getting there as one of the nations premier programs.”
Kallina has been aware of Scott for many years.
“I have been doing this a long time and and the parents of one of my former players – who is now at UNC-Wilmington – brought me a video of this fifth grader at the YMCA,” Kallina said. “ I didn’t know it was her at the time, but I watched her and said ‘this is one of the best things I have ever seen in an eight-second clip.’
“A few years later I met somebody who actually knew her and was introduced and told her ‘I have been waiting for you for a long time.’
“You could tell in the sixth grade that she was going to be really good. I don’t know Top 10 in the country like she ended up, but you knew she was going to be a Power 5 type player. That was pretty obvious. The more I got to know her and found out how good she wanted to be, the two really meshed together and made it happened.
“It wasn’t hard to figure out when she was a sixth grader playing on our eighth grade team and was out best player.”
Kallina belives Scott has a unique skill set.
“People will go out there and say kids are shooters and I think that say that because they can’t do anything else. She is the best shooter in the country.
“She went to the SLAM game and won the 3-point contest, went to the Elite 24 and won the 3-point contest , went to the Curry Camp and won the 3-point contest. She also came off a pretty serious injury and only played in July and was still the Under Armour League.
“She can really shoot it and that’s what she does best, but she has a knack for scoring.
Kallina think that Scott is only going to improve each year as she get older..
“People don’t realize it, but she has not turned 18 yet and doesn’t until January,” Kallina said. “She is very young for her grade.
“So I think as she continues to develop physically that you are going to be able to see her score on a different level. She will get SEC weight training and just get better.”