Jun 18, 2012, 12:37 PM EDT
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)
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