BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Arkansas women’s basketball five-star signee Taliah Scott has named to McDonald’s All-American team and will be playing for the East squad in the 46th annual game on March 28 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
A 5-9 senior point guard from Orange Park (Fla.) St. Johns Country Day, Scott is one of 24 players invited to the contest and becomes the sixth Arkansas player under head coach Mike Neighbors to earn the honor.
She is averaging nearly 40 points per game this season.
“She is not big, but she plays bigger than her size, gets from end to end quick, has some wiggle and just outperforms her measurable,” Neighbors said. “It’s a honor for her and we can’t wait to get her here next season.”
Scott, one of a quintet of Razorback November signees, is having a spectacular senior season while scoring at 37.3 points per game clip, the nation’s second-best mark.
“And it’s not a bunch of lay ups, it’s not like she is just stealing and going and laying it in or getting offensive rebounds away from people bigger than her,” Neighbors said. “I mean it is tough threes, it’s getting to the foul line.
“It’s productive, it’s efficient. It is not like she is taking 30 shots to get 37 points. You look up and she is 9 out of 11 from the 3 and 12 out of 13 from the free throw line and 5 out of 8 from the field. It’s efficient, it is consistent.
“At the end of the day, it is points that translate to college. There are a lot of kids who average gaudy numbers, but it doesn’t translate to college.”
Scott’s 37.3 average is second only to Staten Island (NY) Wagner star Nicole Melious, who is averaging 43.8 points per game this season.
She has tallied 2,497 career points as Country Day (13-5) heads into the postseason next week.
Scott told the the Florida Times Union that the scoring is not what she is all about.
“A lot of people get that wrong about me,” Scott said. “They think I’m just a scorer, but I like to play the complete game. I like to play defense, I like to rebound, I like to pass. I like to get excited as my teammates make shots.
“It’s about the whole game and I enjoy playing the whole game and not just scoring, even though that’s fun, too. I like watching my teammates eat, too.”
She has scored at least 30 points in 16 consecutive games, notching a season high of 53 points in a game against Orlando First Academy back on Dec. 29.
Country Day head coach Yolanda Bronston sees her star as a great teammate.
“Taliah could average 50 points, easy,” Bronston told the Florida Times Union. “Easy. She could average 50 points, but she understands that basketball is a team sport.”
Scott is ranked as the 11th-best player in the country by Hoop Girls and was also a midseason nominee for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy that is awarded to the nation’s best high school player.
As a junior, Scott poured in 31.5 points per contest and also added 6.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.4 steals per game for St. Johns Country Day School.
The five previous Neighbors players at Arkansas that were named McDonald’s All-Americans were current Razorbacks Maryam Dauda and Jersey Wolfenbarger in 2021, and transfers Sasha Goforth, transfers Amber Ramirez and Destiny Slocum.
Four of those could be on the Razorback roster next season.
“In women’s basketball, if you look, you can reach a point of diminishing returns,” Neighbors said. “You can reach a point of having too many stars…and too many accolades on a roster.
“But I think we will have a great balance. They is not an overlapping of positions.”