Building For The Future

When the West Virginia men's basketball team met with the media on Thursday afternoon, the topic of conversation was not as much on the team's season opener on Sunday against Loyola University, but rather on the signing of guard Noah Cottrill.

After committing to West Virginia as a sophomore, Cottrill held fast to his pledge for more than two years before signing his letter of intent on Thursday. Last season, Cottrill played for Mountain State Academy and averaged 25.8 points a game. He has moved to Logan High School for his senior season, but all through the recruiting process, Cottrill developed a close bond with many Mountaineer players. Members of this year's team were happy to hear of his official signing Thursday afternoon.

"He is one of the best passers I have seen in general," senior forward Da'Sean Butler said after learning that Cottrill had signed his National Letter of Intent. "He has good court vision. He's a very good point guard. He's very quick. I'm just looking forward to watching him play. I watched him play a little bit at the rec. It was good to see him play and support him. He's a good friend of mine. Hopefully, when he gets here, he will have the same success he had in high school."

Even though Butler won't get a chance to play in college with Cottrill, he did get the chance to see him in action this summer when he played in the Triple S Harley Davidson Jam Fest at West Virginia University's student rec center. It was during this time that Butler and the rest of the team were able to solidify the bond with the high school senior.

"He's a goofball," said Butler jokingly. "He's just like family. When he stays here, he's part of us and our group. We all hang out with him and talk to him, not because we have to but because he's going to be part of the family."

The fact that Butler, who won't have Cottrill as an on-court teammate, speaks so highly of Cottrill says something about the ultra-competitive high schooler. It also bodes well for Cottrill's future, in that he already knows his future teammates so well.

Butler went on to discuss his own recruitment at West Virginia, and how the welcome he received from players and coaches helped to influence his decision to come to West Virginia. He has made sure to continue that tradition by doing the same for the recruits that have visited WVU during his time on campus.

"That's the reason why I came here," said Butler. "Everyone was so nice. Most places are like factories. They get a lot of good players that come for one year and then they leave. Hopefully, when we have people come in, they don't get that factory feel. They feel that it's a good place and we're going to play basketball and get better and learn."

Head coach Bob Huggins' deserved reputation as an ace recruiter and a coach that can get the best out of his players is well-documented, but Butler's comments show that there's more to the recruiting process than the potential of an NBA career. Huggins and his staff are able to connect to recruits on a personal level, and Butler sees that process continuing. Although he is about to begin his final year for the Mountaineers, the senior standout recognizes that the program will continue to grow with recruits like Cottrill.

"[The future] is always bright when you have a team where everyone is coming back other than one or two guys," said Butler. "You have pretty much the entire team coming back and everyone is good. You can't be too upset about that."

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