Cotto Nearing Decision

After transferring from LaSalle High School in Miami to Alton High School in Illinois for his senior year, guard Ruben Cotto has been one of the surprises of the St. Louis area and the state of Illinois this season.

The 6-foot do-everything point guard has given college coaches plenty of reasons to make the trek to Alton, but the native of Puerto Rico appears to be close to making a commitment for next season.

On Tuesday night, Cotto said he is "almost sure" he is going to Saint Louis University to play for coach Rick Majerus next year.

"I like Saint Louis University a lot," he said.

Cotto, who said he's recently attracted interest from Kentucky, Iowa and Purdue, has watched the Billikens play a few times this season — he watched SLU defeat Southern Illinois and lose to Dayton in overtime — and likes what he has seen from the team in its first season with Majerus at the helm.

"I see how Rick Majerus is building up the program," Cotto said. "You can tell by how they are playing this season. I think that we have a good chance to go to the tournament next year. In the second year, wherever he's coached, he's always made it to the tournament."

The Alton senior said he's looking forward to playing with guards Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell III next season, when those two are seniors.

Cotto would join a recruiting class that already had five members sign in the fall: center Brett Thompson, power forward Willie Reed, forward Brian Conklin, shooting guard Femi John and point guard Kwamain Mitchell.

That recruiting class was generally regarded as the second-best in the Atlantic 10 Conference, behind only Dayton, and will add some punch with the addition of the versatile guard from Puerto Rico.

The 6-foot Cotto, who can play either point guard or shooting guard, would add another weapon to the Billikens' offense. He and Mitchell could share the point guard position duties or Cotto, who has a very nice shooting stroke from behind the 3-point arc, could slide over to the shooting guard spot.

SLU will need someone to take over the scoring load after leading scorers Lisch and Liddell use up their eligibility. Cotto could be that go-to guy in a few years.

"Rick Majerus said I should be an impact player," Cotto said. "I can score and make plays."

As a junior at LaSalle High School in Miami, Cotto averaged 19.6 points, 8.1 assists and 3.9 steals per game.

This season, Cotto is averaging 23.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.3 assists per game. Alton, which lost all five starters from last year's 27-win team, is 22-6 with one more regular season game remaining.

Ruben Cotto Profile


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