Despite his imposing 6-11, 255 lb. frame, Scates' scoring and agility were a work in progress throughout his four years at Georgetown. As a freshman, Scates played in just seven games as a backup to Merlin Wilson.

In 1976-77, Scates stepped up his game with action in 27 contests, including a 14 point, 13 rebound effort against Chicago State, and a 12 point, 11 rebound effort against Alabama. As a junior, Scates' scoring average slipped to 1.6 points per game, but his impact on the floor grew as a result of a new defensive weapon: the blocked shot.

"Tommy was very effective in shutting down the opposition's inside game," said head coach John Thompson prior to the 1978-79 season. "He is very intimidating, and few people want to go to the hoop against him."

Scates' senior season saw him start 25 games, with a then-record 62 blocks in 1978-79, breaking his own mark of 54 set the year before. Scates was a defensive presence throughout the season, if not an offensive one--he took only six field goal attempts in his final ten games.

Scates played basketball overseas for three years (1979-82) but his initial post-basketball career often elicited disapproving tones in the media: Tom Scates had become a doorman in the Marriott hotel chain. If some looked down on the job, Scates did not.

"I started doing this because when I came back to DC... I found that I really enjoyed the work," said Scates in an article posted in the 1986-87 Georgetown media guide. "It took me from an introverted and quiet person to a more extroverted outlook because that's what is needed to do my job well. I found that at my size I was going to be remembered and I wanted the impression to be positive. I also found that a job which could mean $200.00 a day was worth keeping.

"As long as I am comfortable with my niche in life what do I care what someone else thinks?" he asked. "I meet new people all of the time, I make good money and I'm free of a lot of the worries that go with judging your worth by the status of your job."

In later years, Tom Scates worked as a representative for Comcast. Scates died suddenly in 2008 at the age of 51.

 

Season

GP

GS

Min

FG

FGA

%

3FG

3GA

%

FT

FTA

%

Off

Reb

Avg

PF

Ast

Blk

Stl

Pts

Avg

1975-76 7 7 12 58.3 1 9 11.1 22 3.1 0 15 2.5
1976-77 27 44 67 65.6 12 30 0.4 92 3.4 6 100 3.7
1977-78 30 383 18 31 58.0 12 27 44.4 124 4.1 65 2 54 1 48 1.6
1978-79 25 432 19 39 48.7 10 23 43.4 88 3.5 63 1 62 4 48 1.9
Totals 90 88 149 59.0 35 89 39.3 326 3.6 9 116 211 2.3
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