Auburn's Taliah Scott settles in: 'I want to make this a championship team'

by Jeff Shearer
2024_06_03_1st day of practice_252024_06_03_1st day of practice_25
Connor Putman

AUBURN, Ala. – Joining a team stocked with superstars held little interest for Auburn's Taliah Scott. She wanted a challenge.

"I want to help try to elevate a program," said Scott, who signed with the Tigers on April 15 after earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors at Arkansas last season. "I don't want to join a super team and just be another piece. I wanted to be part of a program where I feel like I'm needed. I want to make this a championship team. I don't want to join another championship-caliber team."

Scott joins the Tigers following Auburn's first NCAA Tournament appearance and 20-win season in five years, attracted to the Plains for reasons on and off the court.

"The family aspect," Scott said. "I wanted to be in a place that was a great culture and I wanted to be part of that great culture. I wanted to win. Everybody here is a winner and people want to win.

"Everybody works. It's a hard-working environment. People want to do everything necessary so that when we get on the court it comes easy to us.

"The fans are great. They've embraced me since I signed. They've texted and posted. It's been great.

"I've felt really welcomed by the team and the coaches. It's been good vibes. I feel like I'm basically at home. I've been having fun and really enjoying it."

2024_06_03_1st day of practice_45SEC All-Freshman Team member Taliah Scott averaged 22.1 points per game in 2023-24

Before coaching against Scott last season, Auburn's Johnnie Harris tried to recruit Taliah out of St. John's Country Day School in Orange Park, Florida, near Jacksonville.

"We had established a really good relationship," Scott said. "She's really genuine. She does what she talks about."

In her first SEC season, Scott averaged a team-high 22.1 points per game, earning SEC Freshman of the Week recognition four times.

"You're going to see a player who's willing to do anything to help her team win," Scott said. "Getting people in positions to contribute and contribute in ways they feel the most comfortable in, scoring, guarding the other team's best guard.

"A great teammate who supports and cheers and hypes everybody up when they do something. I want people to know that I'm a good vibe. Great teammate, great player."

Scott torched the Tigers for 33 points in the Razorbacks' 74-72 win in Fayetteville on Feb. 4. With Auburn replacing departed All-American Honesty Scott Grayson, Scott embraces the opportunity to be trusted to take the last shot.

"It's what I like to do," she said. "It's what I've been relied on to do in the past. I won't shy away from being that person. Those are big shoes to fill, but I'm ready to work and I'll be willing and I'm ready to fill those shoes." 

2024_06_03_1st day of practice_43Defense wins championships: Taliah Scott aspires to make the SEC All-Defensive Team


Scott knows that for Coach J, the focus begins at the other end of the court.

"Defense is a huge part of this team," Scott said. "I'm ready to buy in and do all the dirty work that defense requires. I'm trying to be on the SEC All-Defensive Team," she said. "Coach J and I are striving and working toward that."

In her first two weeks working out with her new teammates, Scott sees potential.

"We have a lot of pieces that are crucial to make a determined run," Scott said. "Everybody's developing well and working on their deficiencies so that when the season comes, we're going to hit the ground ready to go.

"The thing that stands out about this team is how supportive and how much we cheer for each other. We want each other to do well. We're going to hit tough times but being able to be a team and a family and feel supported and embraced by everybody, we're going to make it through that."

The Tigers' first McDonald's All-American since HSG, Taliah Scott knows much is expected from Auburn fans. Just not as much as she expects from herself.

"I want to put in the work. I want to be an underdog," she said. "I feel like I perform better when I'm that underdog type. I have that type of mentality. That's why I chose Auburn because they're on the rise and I want to help them get to where they want to be."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer

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