When the final buzzer sounded for the Ohio State women’s basketball team last season, then-redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion thought she had played her last game as a Buckeye.
Despite having a year of eligibility left, Scullion made the choice to leave the team at the end of the season in order to focus on attending medical school at OSU. Everyone, including coach Kevin McGuff, thought they had seen the last of her.
“When she stopped playing last year, we all thought that she was done,” McGuff said. “She had an extra year of eligibility obviously, but she was moving on to (medical) school which is an amazing deal.”
It was a series of unfortunate events that led Scullion back to the team. It all started Oct. 15 when it was announced that freshman forward Makayla Waterman would miss the season because of an ACL injury. Toward the end of October, freshman forward Chelsea Mitchell suffered a torn ACL and less than a week later, redshirt-freshman guard Kianna Holland suffered a season-ending ACL injury of her own.
With only seven available healthy players and limited options, McGuff and the coaching staff reached out to Scullion for help.
“We were talking the week before the 31st and the following week is when I think we finally made a decision to go,” Scullion said.
She said the decision to return to the team wasn’t an easy one.
“(Medical) school was definitely very intense so it was a tough decision actually,” Scullion said. “I know this is a great opportunity, but it was something I had to wrap my mind around and know I could be successful at both.”
Even though she had only been away from the team less than a year, the transition from being a medical school student to a college basketball player again was harder than she expected.
“The first practice I came back, I remember I put on all my gear and I just felt like I was playing dress-up,” Scullion said. “In my mind, that chapter of my life was over and to be back was crazy.”
Scullion averaged 3.1 points and 3.9 rebounds last season for the Buckeyes, and McGuff said he expects her to provide a spark for OSU.
“She’s a really good defender, she’s a good rebounder, she’s a physical player,” McGuff said. “She’s a very, very bright player, I think she’ll just help us in giving us somebody that can allow us to rest some people a little bit more.”
Scullion’s teammates also said they think she’ll provide a lot for the young team.
“I think that she’ll bring a lot more energy to the team,” freshman forward Alexa Hart said. “I really think she’ll bring open shots more for everyone else, even creating shots for her own self.”
While Hart did not play with Scullion last season, junior guard Ameryst Alston said having Scullion back will be beneficial for the entire team.
“Amy is going to be a lot of help,” Alston said. “She works really hard and it’s just a blessing and we’re really happy to have her. I think she’s the most unselfish person ever to come back and help us.”
Alston added that some of the players had asked Scullion about a potential comeback prior to her return.
“We had seen her a couple days before just on campus,” Alston said. “We were asking her, just kind of joking around, ‘Oh you want to come back?’ and what do you know, she is back.”
Scullion will have to wait until Sunday before she can officially take the court for OSU. The NCAA suspended Scullion for three games for an incident involving autograph signing that took place after she left the team.
“The NCAA just didn’t like what I did after I graduated,” Scullion said. “It’s disappointing and I wish I could’ve played those three games but I’m glad I’m back, I’m glad they’re giving me this opportunity so I can’t complain much.”
When she does get playing time, Scullion said she’s ready to slip into a new and more comfortable role.
“I’m excited about my role this year because I think I can just go in, play hard, and that’s what I like to do anyways,” Scullion said. “There’s no pressure on me to have to score, I just go in, hopefully get some rebounds, and everyone’s happy.”
With the demands that come from playing college basketball and being a student in medical school, Scullion plans on staying focused on her goals while making sacrifices along the way.
“Right now for me the No. 1 priority is (medical) school, that has to come first,” Scullion said. “I just have to be super disciplined, make sure I’m staying up with my schoolwork, maybe not watch as much reality TV as I’d like.”
Scullion will be eligible to play against Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.