Noah Cottrill was supposed to be the next in a long line of great guards to come out of the hills of West Virginia.
A four-star recruit when he graduated from high school in 2010, Cottrill found his way to West Virginia’s Morgantown campus, but instead of becoming a hometown hero and a local legend, Cottrill turned into yet another poster-boy for the dangers of prescription drug addiction.
In October of 2010, just a few months after he made his way onto campus, Cottrill was suspended by Bob Huggins for “conduct unbecoming of a Mountaineer”. He withdrew from school in January of 2011. He did travel to Tampa to watch the team play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and spent time in a rehab center in Michigan, but the wheels fell off of Cottrill’s wagon in December of 2011 when he was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and petit larceny. Cottrill had a bag with 10 pills of hydrocodone and acetaminophen and a gold chain that had been stolen.
Hopefully, that was the wake-up call that Cottrill needed. He’s just about ruined any chance he has of playing at a Division I school, thanks to the rule that all four years of eligibility must be used up in a five-year window. Cottrill’s clock stated when he stepped foot on campus in 2010.
But he can still play at a lower level, which is why Mountain State — an NAIA school in West Virginia — is giving him a chance.
“We know that Noah has made a lot of mistakes over the past two years,” Bolen said. “He has begun to correct those, so we’re excited to get him. By the time our season starts, he’ll be a top level player again. He’s playing at a high level now.”
Battling addiction is a difficult thing. We all know someone who has been hurt by the inability to control their demons. But the first step in overcoming addiction is admitting that you have a problem, and Cottrill has done that.
“I’ve messed up and had some setbacks,” Cottrill told the Register-Herald. “I’m going to have a success story to tell, because I’ve been through it all and seen it all. I’ve been right for a while now; otherwise, I wouldn’t be taking this step now to play basketball. … My family has my back too. My brother Ricky has been a huge support for me. We talk every day. He reminds me that a lot of people do care about me. He’s been a big inspiration. Everyone’s support has been great.”
“I’ve been humbled. It’s been a great process of humbling, trust me, these last two years.”
Cottrill could have been a hero for kids that grew up as West Virginia basketball fans.
But if he can graduate from MSU, turning his life around as he overcomes his addiction, he has a chance to be a role model and a source of information and support for people that actually need help.
That’s the true definition of hero.
(Photo via the Logan Banner)
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.