Hastings unselfish despite immense talent

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 5, 2014 

Lynden's Scott Hastings is the All-Whatcom County Boys' Basketball Player of the Year. (Note: photograph created using in-camera double exposure).

DANNY MILLER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Scott Hastings' numbers weren't the typical eye-popping, first-team all-state-like stats synonymous with one of the best players in a classification, let alone a county or conference.

But it's not that Lynden's 6-foot-7 junior with a seemingly endless amount of potential was incapable of taking games over, he simply preferred not to.

"He is a guy that impacts the game on both ends," Lions coach Brian Roper said. "He's not always about the statistics. He is such a factor, and I think Scooter is, for such a talented kid, an especially unselfish player."

On the offensive end, Hastings was a matchup nightmare. His ability to score inside and on the next possession knock down a 3 or beat a defender to the rim off the dribble, regularly kept defenses off-balance.

He was the Lions' rim protector on the defensive end. Hastings lurked in the paint in the middle of Lynden's zone defense, waiting to block or alter shots. Playing man defense, he used his length and athleticism to lock down an opposing team's top big man.

Even though Hastings wasn't a statistical-hound, he still averaged 13.9 points per game and was a near lock for double-digit rebounds every time out. Most importantly, though, he returned from injury just in time to lead Lynden to the Class 2A State Tournament championship game.

Hastings has been selected The Bellingham Herald's All-Whatcom County Boys' Basketball Player of the Year, while Roper, who guided a new-look Lynden club to a second-place 2A finish and a district title, has been selected Coach of the Year.

Hastings, with seniors Jaremy Martin and Jalani Phelps, was one of three returners with any varsity experience, after the Lions graduated a class loaded with talent.

He was selected tri-captain and helped bring along a young club. Hastings particularly excelled at getting others involved such as standout sophomore Sterling Somers, who led Lynden with 14.5 points per game.

"I'm not really a selfish guy," Hastings said. "We have a lot of good players, and I don't want to take away the joy from them. I want to let them play, too. I want to share the ball, let them get touches and makes plays as well as me."

Hastings' team-first attitude was especially apparent when he suffered a fractured growth-plate in his wrist toward the end of the regular season.

Roper called him the team's "biggest cheerleader" while on the shelf.

"When I realized it was broken, it was tough for me, but I didn't let that affect the way I helped the team," Hastings said. "I did all I could on the bench and gave input."

Lynden missed its big man for five games and clearly wasn't the same without him, beating Ferndale by six, Meridian by two, losing to Sedro-Woolley and edging Archbishop Murphy by one point after scoring only 10 points by halftime during the district tournament opener.

But Hastings came back right in time to give Lynden a major spark, playing tremendously during the Lions' postseason run.

"I think when he came back against Anacortes in the second round of the playoffs, it wasn't just helpful in terms of production and scoring and rebounding, he gave our guys an emotional lift as well," Roper said.

Hastings was a first-team Hardwood Classic selection, with his biggest efforts coming in both Lynden's semifinal win against Lake Washington, when he scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds, and the title loss to Pullman, when Hastings chipped in 18 points and eight rebounds.

The Hardwood Classic accolade was one of many for the Lynden junior. He also earned a first-team All-State selection and was a first-team All-Northwest Conference choice.

While Roper lauded Hastings' team play, the forward's blend of athletic ability combined with his versatility not only makes him a strong prep player, it projects well at the next level.

"He is a tough matchup," Roper said. "He is a versatile guy who has a real good feel for the game, and he does a lot of things that you can't coach. ... He has improved a tremendous amount since he was a sophomore, and I think he'll be that much better next year."

Those are welcome words to a college recruiter, and already Hastings has piqued the interest of several regional schools.

Hastings said he received a lot of exposure while playing with his Seattle AAU team last year, and he's had conversations with schools such as Portland State, Washington, Portland, Central Washington, Washington State, Seattle Pacific, Gonzaga and Utah.

Hastings said the prospect of playing at the next level has served as a driving force for him to continue working on his all-around game.

Getting another shot at playing for a state championship will be another motivator, he said.

"I'm really proud of our team," said Hastings of what Lynden accomplished this year, "and I'm proud of how we fought throughout the whole season. I wouldn't have wanted to do it with a different team. It sucks we didn't pull out a win, but sometimes the ball doesn't go your way. I think we learned a lot coming into next year."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

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