TROY — Troy men’s basketball player Darian Adams knows he’ll soon be reminded of the darkest moment in his life.
Rod Scott, the Montgomery basketball legend who died in a car accident 3 1/2 years ago, and Adams were the closest of friends.
Adams, who broke two vertebrae in the same wreck, will be part of an ESPN feature Saturday leading into the Alabama-LSU football game. Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III was also a close friend of Scott’s, enough that Ruggs makes a hand signal honoring Scott after each of his touchdowns.
Adams, who begins his junior season Thursday when the Trojans host UAB, said he hopes to raise three fingers in Scott’s honor, too. He already wears the No. 3 jersey in Scott’s memory.
“I’m blessed to be here,” Adams said. “My brother is not here, so I’m going to play for him. It’s motivation to make me go harder.”
Adams and Scott played together on St. Jude’s final team in 2014.
They dispersed to rival public schools — Adams to G.W. Carver and Scott to Robert E. Lee — but remained close.
Adams was in the backseat with Scott for the accident in February 2016. The two were riding to the state basketball tournament in Birmingham to watch as fans.
“People are always wanting to ask me about it,” Adams said. “It’s something I have to talk about. It’s something that is a part of me. I had to get to that point.
“It wasn’t something I could talk about for the first two or three years after he passed away. Now, I’m comfortable talking about it. It’s still hard, but I can still talk about it.”
Adams, who didn’t play his first year at Troy while recuperating, said he still feels nervous when passing the place on I-65 where the accident happened. Lee players, to this day, come to a respectful silence.
“I just stare outside the window,” said Adams, whose memory of the wreck still has missing details. “I’ll look outside and try to figure out what happened and where the accident was.”
Targeting Tyus: Troy football safety Melvin Tyus, also a G.W. Carver graduate, said he hasn’t purposely changed his tackling technique after being ejected twice this season for targeting.
“I just try to keep my head out of it,” Tyus said. “Move away from the defender. They’ve been calling it pretty close this year. I have to do my best to keep my head out of it.”
Tyus, who has 24 tackles, said an early-season knee injury still bothers him, but it hasn’t affected his tackling.
“It’s nothing major, nothing to keep me out, but it’s been lingering,” Tyus said. “It’s been a lingering process and we haven’t had any time to get rest and allow it to heal. It’s been a process.”
Boots made for walking: Offensive lineman Dylan Bradshaw put his boots down Tuesday, showing off a full-quilt ostrich pair his mom bought him for his birthday in July.
“I have a bunch of boots, but this is my first pair of ostrich,” Bradshaw said, comparing them to his others. “I like them. They feel the same, but they are unique. I’ve always wanted a cool pair of boots.”
Changes afoot? Troy coach Chip Lindsey said the Trojans could make some depth-chart moves after their latest defensive struggles.
Coastal Carolina was 12-of-19 on third-down conversions in its 36-35 win over Troy last weekend.
“At the end of the day, we have to get our guys in position, which we’ve done, and we expect them to make plays,” Lindsey said. “If we need to change personnel to give us a better opportunity, we will.”
Martial on walk-on list: Troy linebacker Carlton Martial is one of 83 nominees for the Burlsworth Trophy, the award announced Tuesday. It goes to the nation’s top player who began his career as a walk-on. Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow won last year.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter A. Stacy Long at [email protected]