LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Scotty Davenport lives for these kinds of moments. He loves the competition, like any coach. But when he gets a chance to surprise an unsuspecting walk-on with a scholarship, he pulls out all the stops.

He plotted for six weeks on his latest surprise party, for Providence, Ind., senior George Knott. On Thursday afternoon in Knights Hall, Davenport had his team do some drills in front of a couple of hundred campers and many of their parents in Knights Hall.

Then he bunched the campers up, and told them that if they do the right things, and persevere, and work hard, good things can happen to them.

Then he started to talk about Knott. The senior was a good high school basketball player at Providence High, but not a great one. Davenport went to see him in high school and said, “I just knew, he wasn’t a kid that was going to be able to play for us.”

Knott got some offers to play at the Division III level, but he saw the scouting report clearly -- his future wasn’t in basketball, but in whatever academic course he was going to follow in college. So he hung it up, and went to Bellarmine, where he has majored in Exercise Science with an eye toward going to Physical Therapy school.

“I thought I was done,” he said. "My basketball playing days were over."

Then he got a phone call from Davenport, who told him he wasn’t going to get to play much, if at all, but that he was short on players and he had a spot on the team if he wanted it. Davenport needed warm bodies to practice.

Knott's parents, Kevin and Mary Knott, knew he was excited, because he sent them a text message.

“I never get a text from him,” Mary Knott said. “But I got a text from him that day. He almost never texts.” 

Several weeks ago, it was their turn to get a phone call. Davenport called to tell them their son would be on full athletic scholarship to Bellarmine for his senior season. But Knott didn’t find out until Thursday, when teammates presented him an oversized check to represent the scholarship — about a $55,000 value when you consider housing costs.

Knott said he had no idea.

“Totally shocked,” he said. “But this is a great thing for my family. And it’s such an honor for me. I can’t thank coach Davenport enough. He didn’t have to do this. I was never the best, nowhere close to the best, but the coaches and the guys have all worked with me. For me, to be a scholarship athlete at Bellarmine, that’s as good as it gets.”

For Davenport, it is, too. It was an opportunity to create a real, life illustration of what he was preaching to those kids during his basketball camp. And to kids around the city. It’s hard work that unlocks hope.

“This kid is everything any coach would want, academically, athletically, socially,” Davenport said. “He stands for all the right things. There were two messages. One was to these 250-plus campers, that when you do the right things, in your classroom, in your home, good things will happen to you, opportunity will chase you down. And then I met with the team privately right afterward, and I wanted to express to them, that’s why you coach, to push and support for those kinds of moments.”

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