"It's Just Like Home."

In the midst of a chaotic summer of AAU basketball and trying to determine where he will attend high school this upcoming year, one long-committed future Mountaineer guard enjoyed the chance to play in front of a gold-and-blue clad crowd at the Triple S JamFest.

"(Summer) is going great, man," said Mountain State native Noah Cottrill. "There's a lot of competitors out here. AAU is always great."

"Coming out here to Morgantown, soon to be my college town, coming out and playing in front of lots of fans is fun. It's just like home."

Cottrill, the No. 11 point guard in the nation and a four-star prospect according to Scout.com, was one of many talented players on the Ohio Basketball Club team at JamFest.

OBC forwards Mychal Parker and Dakotah Euton and guards T.J. McConnell and Nick Kellogg all, like Cottrill, hold Division I offers. With all that talent, it was little surprise that the squad took home the championship of the gold (top) bracket of the 17-and-under division.

Playing alongside a group of other top-level players gave Cottrill a chance to work on his skills as a floor general. Long hailed for his touch as a 3-point shooter, the rising senior said learning to play better without the ball is his top goal for the summer.

"Basically, (my goals are) just being a better leader and being a better point guard," said the 6-foot-1, 175 pounder.

"I'm always working on the point guard aspect and my decision-making skills after I pass the ball -- am I going to down-screen or am I going to cut? Basically moving without the ball is what I've got to most improve on."

That may be easier said than done for Cottrill, who admitted he is "used to having the ball in my hands all the time."

But with the recruiting process long out of his mind after committing back in 2007, the guard has been able to focus solely on improving his game.

The West Virginia coaching staff has given him pointers on what to spend time working on, as well as what type of attitude to bring into competition at both the high school and AAU levels.

"I've got to be bigger and stronger and always be a competitor," Cottrill said. "You've got a target on your back because you're going to West Virginia. Everybody's going to come out and try to bust you."

"You've got to use that as incentive to get better and go out every game with a chip on your shoulder, like you're going to kill your opponent. That's what I like to do. I'm a competitor."

Where that competitor plans to spend his final year of high school remains to be seen after the coaching situation at Mountain State Academy changed due to financial difficulties within the program.

Cottrill declined to comment on whether or not he had narrowed down his possible choices for where to attend school, but didn't seem overly worried about the situation.

"We'll work things out," he said. "It doesn't matter where I go. Hopefully we'll be successful."

The fact that the senior's biggest worry going into the fall is where he will spend his last year of high school (and not where he will spend his time in college) speaks to just how prepared Cottrill is to take the next step in his evolution as a player and person.

And while other college coaches may still be in the guard's ear, reminding him there's still time to examine other options than WVU, he doesn't seem to be listening.

"They all say that you're free game until you sign that letter, and I haven't signed anywhere," he said. "But I'm 120 percent Mountaineer, baby. I'm not going anywhere."


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