By Kintaro Skinner
Despite only being in her first year, Marin Scotten has already made a name for herself, quickly becoming one of the best players on the Ryerson Rams’ women’s basketball team this season.
However, her road to stardom on the basketball court has been anything but ordinary. A star track and field athlete during high school, Scotten was an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations participant, representing her high school in the long distance events of the 1500-metre run and the 1500-metre steeplechase.
Scotten recognizes this experience as something that is instrumental to her success on the court this season.
“Being a distance runner, having that endurance, allows me to play longer minutes,” the Orleans, Ont., native said.
Having a background as a track athlete has paid dividends for the first-year guard, who uses her endurance as an advantage. As a rookie, Scotten is leading the Rams in minutes played with 27.3 per game, and has twice played more than 35 minutes in a single game this year.
She drives opponents crazy with her in-your-face, pressure defense, and is a deadly three-point shooter, hitting 36 per cent of her shots from beyond the arc. But Scotten’s success at Ryerson isn’t an aberration.
For two years in a row, Scotten represented Team Ontario at the Canadian National Basketball Championships, and her team won gold both times. And Scotten knew she was lucky to be there.
“Originally, I wasn’t even supposed to be on the team,” she said. “So as an alternate, every practice you were fighting for a spot, and I was lucky enough to get a spot on the team and then being able to play at nationals the first year prepared me for the next year.”
In 2015, her first year in the Team Ontario program, Scotten worked tooth and nail to be a key contributor in the crucial stages of the tournament. It was something that Scotten believes helped her development as a basketball player.
Scotten’s performance in her first year with the provincial team led to prominence as a valuable contributor for the team, becoming a key component at the 2016 National Championships in Alberta. The team won a gold medal and immediately after that, Scotten narrowed down her top three schools: Queen’s University, the University of Victoria and Ryerson University.
“I felt like (Ryerson) was the place where I was going to thrive as a player and a person,” Scotten said. So far, she’s clearly made the right choice.
Scotten feels her transition to Ryerson has been smooth and she attributes that to her participation in cross country, track-and-field and basketball during her years in middle school and high school.
“Cross country and basketball season were at the same time, but track and field season would start (after) basketball season (ended). All the training was mixed together so sometimes I would go from track to basketball.”
Scotten also credited her intense high school schedule for preparing her for her university life.
“I was really busy in high school,” she said. “Probably even more busy then I am now, so it really prepared me for the university schedule.”
All of these experiences in her athletic career has helped her get off to an impressive start to the season, as she is currently averaging 12.4 points per game as a starter for the team.
“We’re thrilled with Marin’s contributions to the team thus far,” Ryerson head coach Carly Clarke said. “Her ability to shoot and score is welcome, as is her overall competitiveness. She has a passion for the game, and brings that to every practice or game, and I think that helps drive our team’s culture.”
As great as she’s been, Scotten hasn’t been the only freshman to get it done for the Rams this season. Two of her former Team Ontario teammates; Jama Bin-Edward and Leyki Sorra, have also made an impact for Ryerson.
Bin-Edward has mainly made her presence felt on the defensive end—averaging 2.1 steals per game—while Sorra has provided an energetic spark off the bench for the Rams with her hard-nosed play.
“It definitely helps a lot because we knew we would have that support system with each other,” Scotten said. “And, they are both my best friends so knowing them before I came here helped a lot.”
A contender for the OUA rookie of the year, Scotten is excited to be in the running for the award, however, it’s not her top priority at all.
“It would be cool to win it, but it’s not something that I’m focused on at all,” Scotten said. “And I always put the team’s needs over winning any award.”