Stout jumping for joy
SCRANTON - Athletically speaking, Ian Stout's senior year at Southern Columbia wasn't too much to speak of.
Stout, counted on to be the big man in the middle for the Tigers' basketball team that season of 2010-11, suffered an ACL injury to his right knee in the summer of 2010. He recovered from that with hard work, got himself ready to play, then had the same injury in his left knee about halfway through the season.
The Tigers went on to reach the District 4 Class AA consolation game, and Stout was left to think of what may have been.
"I was devastated. We had a shot to win districts. It was hard watching my teammates play," Stout said recently.
Just as bad was that Stout was seriously considering playing college basketball at that point, and had been recruited by several schools.
"I always wanted to play college basketball, especially after talking to (Southern's) Coach (Dave) Yost," Stout said. "Several schools contacted me but then when I tore the ACL's they backed off."
One of the interested schools was Marywood University, and Pacers coach Eric Grundman wasn't quite sure what would happen with the 6-3 Stout.
"I had made a couple calls to Ian his senior year," Grundman said. "I watched film of him and encouraged him to come to Marywood. But before I could actually physically see him play, he blew the knee out."
In the tough world of college recruiting, Grundman had to move on. But in the meantime, Stout decided to go to Marywood anyway.
"I knew he was coming and wouldn't play his freshman year," Grundman said. "We kind of found each other."
"I wasn't ready," Stout said. "I think I was cleared to play about a week before school but I wasn't comfortable enough to try out for the team. Then, as the year went on, I wanted to prove I could play again, and not just pickup basketball. I wanted to play against college competition."
Stout has gone on to do just that. Now a sophomore, he made the Pacers' team this season. Through last Saturday, he had played in all 14 of their games, starting two. He was averaging 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, and he had a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double in a 77-74 win over Baptist Bible in December. His 13 rebounds that night are the single-game high for the team this season.
"He had a tremendous game against Baptist Bible against a 6-6, 240-pound post player," Grundman said. "He was really good defending a really good post player."
Does the dirty work
Grundman likes Stout for his willingness to do the dirty work on the court.
"There's nothing he doesn't do that he's asked to do," Grundman said. "He's unquestionably a young man who puts team in front of personal goals. He's a rare breed. A lot of kids have difficulty playing without the ball in their hands. But Ian does a lot of the little things that don't show up in a box score. He's a good post defender and help side defender. He gets up and down the floor well and he's made himself a lot stronger."
While Stout was unlucky in suffering those injuries his senior year, he also had luck on his side, too. His mother, Dr. Mary Lazarski-Stout, is owner of Central Penn Physical Therapy in Elysburg, and she oversaw her son's physical therapy when he was home, and he continued on his own once he went away to school.
Grundman said that the year of not playing was probably for the best for Stout.
"The college season is so long," Grundman said. "We start (workouts) in August and right now we are probably two months into the season with another two months left.
"He worked tremendously hard in the rec center all year long," Grundman said. "We thought maybe he could have played his freshman year, but he was in a brace and he didn't think he was ready. I think he regained strength in his knees as well. He's kind of transformed his body from that of a high school boy into a college man."
Stout said he thinks he was probably pre-disposed to the knee injuries.
"It's probably genetic," he said. "Both my parents had the same injury."
His therapy started with repetition exercises to get the motion back in the knees, and gradually progressed to strength exercises, then actually playing in pickup games.
Stout said he enjoys the challenge of playing at the collegiate level.
"The big difference is the speed," he said. "Everyone is good. In high school, most teams have one or two good players and everyone else is mediocre. In college, it's like a war every night."
Stout carries a 3.8 GPA and wants to go to into athletic training as a field, hopefully at the college level and possibly working his way up to professional level.
If he achieves that goal, he'll be one trainer who will have practiced what he preaches.