There wasn’t a muscle in Labrandon Scruggs’ powerful body that didn’t cry out for relief as he struggled to move up and down the court.
The empty seat on the bench beside his Corinth teammates looked inviting.
“I was so tired, I could barely move,” said the Warriors’ 6-foot-3 senior center, recalling one particularly tough game during this past season. “My legs were really cramping bad … but I just kept playing. I wanted to win so bad, so I played through it.”
Scruggs left the hardwood that night with 30-plus points and double-figure rebounds – one of his 23 double-doubles during the season – to help his team earn another coveted checkmark in the win column.
His coach, Keith Greene, applauds his physical post player’s determined, workmanlike approch to the game.
“He’s a good worker; he’s solid, not flashy,” Greene said. “When you look at him you don’t see a great player. But then you look at his numbers you see 21 points and 12 rebounds a game.
“He’s steady, steady as she goes.”
Scruggs’ consistent effort, which produced some of the big-time numbers that led to Corinth’s big-time victory total – 30 wins – has earned him the Daily Journal’s 2009 Player of the Year Award in high school basketball.
In the Warriors’ 30-5 season, which ended at the hands of eventual state champion Pass Christian in the 3A State Tournament semifinals, he averaged 21.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
His season-high in scoring was 35 points against Tishomingo County while his top rebounding performance was 18 against DeSoto Central.
“When the ball goes inside we know something positive is going to happen,” Greene said. “He doesn’t mind contact, he doesn’t mind getting fouled. He’s got a nose for the ball. He’s got wide shoulders and he’s a space eater.”
Offensively, Scruggs tallied points on putbacks using his right and left hands. He was also effective 15 feet and in, connecting on 63 percent of his field goal tries.
“He worked as hard as anybody I’ve seen on the offensive glass,” Myrtle coach Jonathan Ashley said.
“He was the standout inside player in this area,” Pontotoc coach Jon Ginn added.
Scruggs leaves as the program’s sixth all-time scorer with 1,741 points. His career scoring average was 14.2 in 123 games over four seasons.
On the boards, his 386 total rebounds and 173 offensive rebounds this year are single-season records.
“I don’t think I could have had a better year,” he said. “I left it all out there … and, I had a lot of fun.”