Scott Spann was content not playing high school basketball.
Instead, the Port Richmond native was just going to mess around in local leagues because he loved the sport.
“I actually was a football player before I played basketball,” Spann said. “My dad had me playing football when I was younger because that was the sport he played and he wanted me to be active. I liked football, but I liked basketball better.
“I played for leagues in Port Richmond, but then I met coach (Isaiah Thomas) and he was helping me. I ended up going to Sankofa because it’s a good school and he was the basketball coach there, so I decided to play.”
It didn’t take Spann long to make a mark. And it took him only three years to surpass the milestone 1,000-point plateau.
Spann scored his 1,000th point during a 10-point effort on Thursday when Sankofa defeated Simon Gratz 47-44 in a Public League A Division game, played at his team’s home gym, which is the one at Frankford High School. Derrius Ward led Sankofa with 14 points, but the true highlighter was Spann.
“It felt so good because I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but I think this was the best achievement I had in basketball,” Spann said. “It meant so much to me that everybody celebrated. It was a team thing, too. We have such a good team, but everyone was happy for me. I was happy, too.”
The milestone was special because it proved the sharpshooting swingman is a prolific scorer. But that’s not what he wants to be known as.
Spann has worked hard on improving his overall game and because he’s had good coaching and great teammates around him, he’s been doing his best to become more than just a guy who can pour in the points.
“The biggest things I have worked on were my defense and getting the ball to my teammates,” Spann said. “I know people think of me as a scorer because I’ve been doing that since my sophomore year when I started playing here, but I have great teammates so I’m trying to get them the ball. We’re tougher to beat because we have so many great players. It’s tough to cover us.”
Sankofa is on its way to enjoying a great season.
Last year, it won the Public League Class A championship and the District 12 A crown and then went on win a state playoff game before falling in the second round.
Overall, Sankofa finished 18-8.
This year, Sankofa is off to a 9-5 start, which is pretty good considering the small school plays in a division with the best the Public League has to offer. It’s also loaded up with tough non-league foes, where it knocked off Archbishop Ryan, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Trenton Catholic and Plymouth Whitemarsh. Among the losses include close games to Archbishop Wood, Bishop McDevitt and New Jersey powerhouse Patrick School.
The tough schedule didn’t just prepare Sankofa for the Public League schedule, it put Spann and his teammates in position to make a long run or possibly bring home a state championship in March.
“I think we’re playing great because we work hard and we play together,” Spann said. “My biggest goal is to win championships because that’s the ultimate team thing. They all helped me get 1,000 points, but winning a championship is something every player on the team can enjoy together. Everyone from the five starters to every guy on the bench. You can’t do it without everyone doing it.”
Spann still has individual goals to accomplish before his Sankofa days are over.
While three years ago he didn’t think he’d be playing high school basketball, now the 6-foot-1 Spann hopes to play in college. There, he’ll primarily play guard.
“I’ve worked on bringing the ball up a lot,” Spann said. “I’ve had a few colleges contact me but I’m still looking, and making contacts. I’ve had help, I think I’ll be able to play somewhere. That is my goal.
“If my future isn’t in basketball, I think I want to study and go into business. It’s a hard subject, but I think I can do it. I’ve always wanted to work in business, it’s something I’m interested in.”
He’s also interested in having a great end to the season.
Sankofa has been among the elite teams in the city all season, but a state championship would be the perfect ending.
“I want everyone to know how great Sankofa is, and the best way to do that is to win a state championship,” Spann said. “We are playing the best teams around and we’re getting ready for that. You have to beat good teams to win a state championship.
“Last year was hard losing (in the second round of the state tournament), and I don’t want the same thing to happen this year. This is my last year. I want to make it special.”