"Scott called me after the first day all upset because he said they had him in the weenie group with kids who had never played basketball," recalls his dad. Just as Fleming's conversation with Green started to escalate into an argument, Roy Williams walked into the office and told Fleming he could take his kid home if he didn't like the way Williams ran his camp.
Fleming explained to Williams he wasn't a wacko dad with unrealistic expectations for some no-talent kid. He had played college ball and was a big fan of how Williams ran his young program. He asked Williams to have his staff evaluate Scott once more before giving him the boot. Scott was elevated to a more-skilled group in which he won an award as one of the camp's best players. The next summer, Scott headed to K-State's camp and was MVP.
Ten years later, not much has changed. Scott, now 6 feet 3 inches tall and 170 pounds, still looks like the guy you'd most like to guard during the lunch-hour pickup game ... and he is still making everyone who doubts his game pay dearly for their errors in judgment. As the junior point guard for Northwest Missouri State, he leads the 22-2 Bearcats in minutes played, scoring (16.5 points a game), assists (4.2), steals (60), three-point goals (43 of 111 attempts) and free throws (124 of 154).
"He's the heart and soul of that program," says Don Doucette, the six-year coach at rival Central Missouri State in Warrensburg, Missouri. "They are the premier defensive team in the region, and he is the best defender on that team. He's terrific."
Fleming first appeared on the local sports scene as a sophomore starter for Liberty High School in 1996. "I wasn't very prepared for starting as a high-school sophomore," says Fleming. "I was so small and thin. I weighed maybe 140 pounds." When he played in a summer league game, one inner-city team didn't even bother to guard him. "I made nine threes that game," Fleming recalls.
Fleming played for Mark Nusbaum at Liberty and led the Blue Jays to a 79-6 record in his three years as a starter -- including a 31-0 state championship run his junior year. He was chosen All-State his senior year. "Scott has that uncanny ability about him where you don't think he can guard you, and then he picks your pocket," Nusbaum says. "You don't think he's strong enough to get the ball to the basket, and then he drains a three-pointer. We had him demonstrate ball-handling skills at our camp because Scott can dribble two balls better than most people can dribble one."
Does Fleming use his less-than-threatening appearance to his advantage? "Sure he does!" Nusbaum says with a chuckle. "I think he thrives on beating people who take him lightly. His confidence level is so far above other kids'. He knows exactly what he can and can't do."
After three years of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Conference play, Gene Iba, head coach at Pittsburg State, knows him well. "He looks like a choirboy, but he's really an assassin," drawls Iba.
Fleming's Bearcats are ranked ninth nationally in Division II and are in a down-to-the-wire battle for the MIAA title with 19-5 Missouri Western. Fleming's biggest game may be in his near future as NWMSU attempts to advance where no other Bearcats basketball team has gone before -- to the Elite Eight of the Division II Tournament and beyond.
"Playing for a large high school like Liberty prepared me for big games," Fleming says. "Some players are nervous and scared before big games, but I live for them."