What if Baron Davis stayed at UCLA, Jaron Rush had never been suspended, and Schea Cotton had not been denied the chance to play in Westwood? Chances are, Steve Lavin's Bruins would be the favorites to win the National Championship.
Davis, of course, left early, and while it was probably not the right decision, it is still too soon to pass judgment. Rush has a chance to redeem himself and save his coach. Cotton, on the other hand--what is to be made of Cotton?
Schea Cotton seems to be an example of everything that is wrong with the NCAA.
"We are really blessed that the kid didn't blow his brains out," his father, James, was quoted saying in a recent Sport magazine article. Apparently, for a while there, it was really touch and go.
The Guru wrote an All-Century feature in January, in which he picked the greatest prep basketball players in the history of Los Angeles and Orange County. Cotton should, by all rights, have been on that team. In his sophomore year at Mater Dei High School, Cotton was the best player in the state on a team that won the California championship, and was featured in Sports Illustrated . He was spotlighted before that, at age 12, in the LA Times. Things started going wrong after that state championship season in 1995. Cotton had transferred from St. John Bosco in Bellflower, then went back to Bosco. The family lives in Long Beach, but they were always moving. James said it was because he was following work in the construction trade. Accusations and rumors of recruiting and pay-offs followed Schea wherever he went , and the Times wrote a scathing piece that centered most of the blame on James.
Schea decided to play at Long Beach State with his brother, but when the older bro decided to skip his senior year and go pro, Schea backed out. Still, talent seemed to have won out when Schea took a scholarship to play at UCLA after graduating from high school in 1997. He passed the SAT, but a furor ensued when it was learned that, because of a learning disability, he was allowed more time to answer the questions. The NCAA jumped in and took away his ride. Cotton was then subjected to the playground wisdom of Long Beach, and he disappeared from public view.
"He became a hermit," James told Sport.
"Why me?" was Schea's reaction. "I didn't lie, I didn't cheat. I did everything I was supposed to."
The Cotton's spent $20,000 in psychological testing to determine that Shea suffered from ADD, which would justify why he was given more time to take the SAT. Despite having basically told the Cotton's that if the kid had ADD they would allow the SAT scores, they came back with a resounding, "No."
Cotton went to Long Beach City College while the family sued the NCAA. The suit brought out a lot of people who had similar experiences with the Shawnee Mission KGB. The suit forced the NCAA to grant Cotton his eligibility, based on "additional information" which was the same information they had in the first place.
Nobody watches the NCAA. All they do is wreck people while serving a nebulous, almost-useless purpose. The whole thing cost James eighty grand. Schea signed with North Carolina State but never went there. He did end up at Alabama, where he finally had a chance to really play basketball this season.
The result: Cotton, 22 in May, scored 15.5 points a game with 4.6 rebounds, and was Second Team All-SEC. Schea has decided not to return to Alabama. His plans are
"uncertain", according to a recent LA Times dispatch, but chances are he will make himself eligible for the NBA draft, probably because his family is in debt after his legal wranglings.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism