The Scott Wedman Interview
Michael D. McClellan
Sunday, November 14th, 2004
Scott Wedman’s game was a holistic experience, a deliciously pure effort far greater than the sum of its considerable parts, and few others have played it any better than the Kansan with the picture-perfect release and feathery touch. Resplendent at times and transcendent at others, his was a symphonic game always in tune with the greater good of helping his team win basketball’s ultimate prize – a quixotic pursuit for most NBA players, but not for Wedman; as a member of two NBA World Championship teams while with the Boston Celtics, Wedman earned a well-deserved reputation as both a deadeye marksman and quintessential teammate.
NBA championships are usually born from the stuff of dreams, and Wedman’s dream began on a farm in Harper, Kansas, where he first learned to shoot baskets by hanging a rim on the family barn. It was there that he began to lay the foundation for one of the purest shots in NBA history. With grandparents close by and plenty of room to roam, Harper was the ideal place for those formative years, and each day was a new adventure for the future NBA All-Star. He learned about livestock, played with his older brother, and took his first tentative steps toward basketball greatness. His mother made sure that he ate properly, starting him down a dietary path that would help shape his views on man’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It was clearly a journey that suited him well; a vegetarian who drank bottled water and practiced yoga regularly, Wedman was a finely-tuned athlete who always produced when his number was called.
Former Celtics head coach KC Jones still marvels at the man whose hallmarks were preparedness, integrity and teamwork. “Scott was always ready to play, and he was a vital piece of our team. He knew that players like Larry [Bird] and Kevin [McHale] were going to get their minutes, and he accepted his role without hesitation. He had the perfect attitude. As a coach, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
By age five, Wedman’s family had relocated in Denver. There was a brief moved back to Kansas before settling in Denver on a permanent basis. Basketball was becoming an increasingly prominent recreation. Wedman’s midget basketball team won the city championship, a taste of hoops nirvana that further fueled the dream and provided structure to his ever-improving game. His coach stressed the fundamentals and helped to reduce the anxiety that came with organized competition. If only his body had kept pace with his prodigious basketball talent; undersized at 5’-6” by the time he enrolled at Mullen High in Denver, it wasn’t until Wedman’s senior season that size and skill converged, landing him on the all-state team and giving him a legitimate shot at Division I basketball. Two schools, Wyoming and Colorado, were in the running. Colorado won out.
Wedman set off for Boulder determined to prove he belonged in a major college program. As a non-varsity freshman he continued to refine his shooting motion, and he focused on the areas that he considered weaknesses; speed, jumping, defense. By Year Two he was on solid footing, and by the end of his junior season he had begun to attract the attention of NBA scouts. The dream, unfathomable just a few short years before, was suddenly – and deliciously – within Wedman’s grasp. Refreshingly, he refused to change his approach to the game; he still worked hard on the court, and he remained the same unassuming gentleman off of it.