|Schea Cotton: Class of 1997|
Written by: Ronnie Flores & Prospect-Central
There is an up and coming documentary entitled "Manchild" and it features a Los Angeles basketball legend by the name of Schea Cotton. As if he were an urban legend, the story of Schea Cotton has been passed down from one hooper to another, supplanting the once future star into basketball mythology. Like any story though, there has been misconceptions as to what really happened to the legend known as Schea Cotton. For the first time, Schea and the people closest to him tell the story of what REALLY happened to the once can't miss prospect. If there was ever such a thing as a "lock" for the NBA, then Schea Cotton no doubt would have been the "key". The story of Schea Cotton just goes to show that no matter how certain something appears, nothing is guaranteed in life. Below is a trailer of the documentary "Manchild" followed by an article written on Schea from August of 2010.
Expectations for the future of Schea Cotton were as great as any pre-high school aged player ever, even LeBron James.
Today, 32-year-old Cotton spends his time on a basketball court teaching young players, instead of schooling them. He’s still in good shape, around 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, roughly his same size as a sophomore at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).
His size is problem No. 1.
Cotton was the first -- and only -- sophomore ever named Cal-Hi Sports Div. I State Player of the Year.
That occurred in 1995, problem No. 2.
Cotton was reared during the explosion of AAU basketball, expanding media coverage of high school athletics and an increased emphasis on sport-specific training at a young age.
"He was our LeBron James," said 1996 North (Riverside, Calif.) graduate, SoCal AAU veteran and former NFL linebacker Chris Claiborne.
"Schea was very good, but he was put on top of the mountain, without ever really climbing the mountain," said Vaccaro, founder of the ABCD Camp. "What happened was many California kids didn’t maintain that competitive edge. Those kids were further along in their development. It showed when they played teams from other regions."
The intimidation factor and Cotton's early exposure to the high-level performance training methods of Marv Marinovich (Todd Marinovich's father) likely worked against him in the long run.
"It turned into a dunk and power show," said ESPN RISE Vice President Andy Bark, who first met Cotton in the fourth grade. "Schea could just overpower kids. That’s works in high school, but when you’re 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, that’s not necessarily going to work against 7-footers in the NBA.”
Could Cotton see those three aligning forces in high school? Was it all too much, too soon?
Cotton says another force, namely the NCAA, was a larger hindrance. After missing his senior year with a shoulder injury -- suffered in a 35-point, seven-dunk performance in an AAU game against Lamar Odom, Cotton signed with UCLA. The NCAA, though, ruled his SAT score invalid.
He wasn't able to suit up for UCLA -- a huge blow in Cotton's estimation -- nor N.C. State in 1998-99 following a year of prep school at St. Thomas More (Andre Drummond's High School).
"There are certain things I can't discuss, but the NCAA invalidated my test scores and took two years from my career,” said Cotton, who has a documentary on the topic in the works. "I could never recoup them.”
A different point of view why Cotton didn't reach the NBA also emerged: perception.
He wound up at Long Beach City College, his seventh straight season of dominating mostly inferior competition after repeating a grade in middle school. Cotton evolved from a 13-year-old with unlimited potential to a 20-year-old with a perceived low ceiling and a rap sheet of dominating younger, lesser opponents.
“I think the big question is: What would have Schea done with those two years at UCLA?” said Cotton, who feels declaring for the NBA out of high school would've been the right move. “If the competition was up to par, great. But if it was not, there was nothing I could do about it. That was out of my control.”
In a brief moment of realization, Cotton speaks on the prevailing conditions that surrounded him – and their affect on his pro career.
"Honestly, a majority of the best players didn’t make it. When you’re hot, then you go cold, it's kind of hard to warm up again.” Original Article.