SHS Senior Having Memorable Season
Posted: December 20, 2013
PENN LAIRD – Hiking has been Tucker McCoy’s escape from a rigorous athletic schedule. McCoy’s favorite part of traversing trails is the reward at the end, such as a view from the top of a mountain.
The view from the top of Spotswood High School’s all-time scoring list is pretty sweet, too.
“Going into my freshman year, I never really would have thought about that at all. It’s a big accomplishment,” McCoy, the Trailblazers’ senior point guard, said before practice Wednesday. “… Doing this within this program with all the players I’ve gotten to play with is a pretty big deal.”
McCoy broke Richard Bruce’s all-time scoring record at SHS with a 3-pointer nine seconds into the first quarter during Tuesday’s 81-67 win over Broadway in Penn Laird. He finished with 20 points to bring his career total to 1,451.
The Blazers’ previous record was 1,431 career points set in the 1996-97 season by Bruce, who left a voicemail on McCoy’s cell phone Wednesday to congratulate him.
“I remember meeting him a few years ago and he was a scorer from as soon as he began playing for Coach Edwards,” Bruce, who went on to play at VMI, said Wednesday. “I knew he had the potential to do it. I followed him over the years, and I knew he was close after last year. I saw him in the state championship game. I knew he was close then. I knew it was a matter of time this year.”
Sure enough, Bruce, now a seventh-year co-owner of a restaurant called “Pigman’s Bar-B-Que” in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, received a Facebook notification on his cell phone about his record being broken.
“I found out [Tuesday] while he was playing,” Bruce said. “I was very happy for him. It means a lot for the program as well. It raises the bar for the next person to come in and raise the level of play.”
McCoy, a fourth-year starting point guard, entered the season with a school-record 192 3-pointers and is well on his way to doubling J.J. Loker’s second-best mark of 112.
He is also projected to finish first in games played and starts, second in career assists behind Dirk Taylor and either first or second in career free-throw attempts and makes. McCoy has shot 79 percent from the foul line for his career.
Not bad for a 5-foot-11 athlete playing a secondary sport. A pitcher, he has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for James Madison University.
Between his freshman and sophomore seasons, McCoy evolved his game drastically on offense, becoming more aggressive as an effective slasher. That led to more free throws.
“If people shut me down at the 3-point line, as a freshman I wouldn’t score much,” said McCoy, a double-digit scorer in 37 consecutive games. “So I had to do more than just shoot 3s.”
Last season, he was asked to score less and get his teammates more involved. He led the Valley District with four assists per game and scored fewer points, but still managed a team-best 18.7 points per game including the playoffs.
McCoy also helped SHS return to the state title game, where the Blazers lost to heavily favored Brunswick.
But if you ask Edwards, the most impressive two things about McCoy are his work ethic and drive to win.
To win 56 games in 84 starts to be exact (67 percent).
“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more experienced [in the state],” Edwards said of McCoy, who led the Valley District in scoring as a sophomore with 21.9 points per game, including a career-high 39 in one game.
It was fitting that McCoy was the one to overtake Bruce, a four-year starter who was also known for his work ethic. He turned a walk-on offer at VMI into a scholarship.
How has McCoy managed to be elite in two sports? Time management and dedication.
“During basketball season, I lift twice a week and then try to get some baseball throwing in during the week,” McCoy said. “And then during baseball, whenever I get some free time, like for some conditioning, I’d go play basketball.”
In the offseason, he’d do both – baseball on the weekends and basketball during the morning hours at the SHS gym.
“I’ve come and practiced with him before. He’s a hard worker,” Bruce said of McCoy, who never appeared to let early success go to his head. “You can see it on the court and off the court just speaking with him. You can hear it in his voice. He’s humble. He’s polite. He’s hungry.”
Edwards said he thinks McCoy could have been a scholarship basketball player if he had chosen that route. The only thing keeping him from receiving the same amount of D-I attention in hoops seemed to be his size.
“That can be the cruel thing about basketball,” Edwards said. “It requires a lot of skill, but at the Division I level it just has so many physical demands.”
Based on McCoy’s discussions with colleges, baseball appeared to give him a higher ceiling. Playing at the highest level possible was a priority for McCoy, a passionate player who did garner D-I basketball interest from The Citadel and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“I put all my eggs in one basket for the most part and this is an extra sport for him,” Bruce said. “That just speaks volumes of him and how talented he is and how much of a hard-worker he is all-around. That’s just going to help him more with his baseball career.”