Randy Moss

Schea Cotton story is cautionary tale for future prep basketball stars


Schea Cotton story is cautionary tale for future prep basketball stars

OAKLAND -- Basketball legends don’t grow on trees. Sometimes, they don’t grow at all.

Jason Kidd kept growing and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. LeBron James kept growing and will enter the Hall as soon as he is eligible. 

Schea Cotton, whose breathless teenage hype matched that of Kidd and James, even sharing their status as being subject of features in Sports Illustrated, was not as fortunate.

Once described by AAU opponent Kevin Garnett as “LeBron before LeBron,” Cotton was not as fortunate. A star sophomore at powerhouse Mater Dei High School in Orange County, he was the biggest name in West Coast prep basketball. Folklore at 16.

An emotional wreck by 19.

A shattered dream before he turned 21.

Cotton, now 41, wants you to know of his journey. He has produced a documentary, “Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story,” that will be shown Friday night at Castlemont High and Saturday at Oakland Tech.

“It’s a humanitarian story," he said Thursday morning. “I was the No. 1 player in North America in 1995. I was 15, 16 years old and everybody thought I was sure-fire, can’t-miss NBA lottery pick. And the car came off the tracks.

“If it happened to me, it can happen to anybody. I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”

Cotton was 6-foot and throwing down dunks at 13, winning dunk contests at 14, leading Mater Dei to a state championship at 15 and being stalked by shoe companies. He was, by many recruiting services, the top prep in the nation at 16.

What followed, though, was a couple troublesome injuries, leading to a meandering road of junior colleges and colleges, the last being the University of Alabama, and miles of NCAA red tape, mostly related to challenging Cotton’s academic status.

And, ultimately, there was the abject disappointment of declaring for the 2000 NBA draft and not hearing his name called.

One of the labels that cost Cotton was “tweener.” At 6-6, 220, he was considered too small to be a power forward and too muscular to be a wing.

The Orlando Magic invited Cotton on its Summer League team, which competed only once before being canceled when another invitee, Conrad McRae, collapsed and died at a practice in Irvine. From there, Cotton got no further on American soil than the minor leagues, such as the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the Continental Basketball Association (CBA).

Cotton’s professional basketball career consists of a few seasons abroad -- Europe, China, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

It’s not what he visualized in high school, and he didn’t see it clearly until his early 20s. Along the way, he fought off bouts of depression and even considered suicide.

Cotton wants to share his experience with youngsters aspiring to reach the NBA, their parents and anyone else looking out for their best interests.

“I want them inspired,” Cotton said of his audience. “I want them to realize they have to take their education seriously and to very conscious of their support group. Like they always say, ‘If you want to see your future, look at your circle.’ Take this story very seriously, because if you don’t it could be you.”

The documentary upon its initial release in 2016 was shown at several Southern California film festivals and received rave reviews. Cotton also took it to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Toronto in 2017.

Former Warriors Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson, as well as Paul Pierce and Elton Brand are among those appearing in the film. Current player Tyson Chandler also shares his memories of young Schea, as does NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss.

"Schea Cotton is the best high school athlete I've ever, ever seen," said Moss, a two-time West Virginia basketball high school Player of the Year.

[RELATED: Steph addresses scenario in which Iguodala rejoins Warriors]

Cotton lives in Long Beach and is the CEO of Schea Cotton Basketball Academy, where he serves as coach and mentor to young athletes, with the hope they will avoid the pitfalls he did not. You might say, he grew up late.

“I know I had the talent. I was better than my peers, and they know it,” Cotton said. “That’s why they’re giving these interviews (in the documentary).

“The thing is, God didn’t want that for my life. He allowed me to go through all these trials to be in the position I’m in now.”

Tickets are $10 for the Oakland showings and can be purchased at therealmanchild.com.

Randy Moss wonders who's holding Antonio Brown accountable for actions


Randy Moss wonders who's holding Antonio Brown accountable for actions

Randy Moss, like Antonio Brown, was a superstar wide receiver who played for the Raiders and New England Patriots. Moss, unlike Brown, lasted much longer than one game in both stops. 

Brown tried to follow in Moss' footsteps with a move from Oakland to Foxboro, although his was far more expedited after not playing a single game in silver and black. Moss enjoyed one of the greatest seasons by a receiver in NFL history in 2007 while catching passes from Tom Brady, and he ultimately had 259 catches from 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns in four seasons in New England. 

Two weeks after Brown joined the Patriots, New England cut him following a stretch in which he was accused of sexual assault in a federal lawsuit in Florida and sending threatening text messages to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct. 

When the 31-year-old tried to tweet through it, sharing his intention to never play in the NFL again during a Sunday morning tweet-storm, Moss had simple advice for Brown on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown."

"I've been saying for the last couple of months about (him) just shutting up and playing football," Brown said Sunday. "And now, you're here at home, tweeting on Sunday. That's our day to go out there and do what we love to do."

Moss told ESPN's Adam Schefter last week that Brown had reached out to ask the Hall of Famer about playing for the Patriots. His message at the time struck a similar tone, saying that "magic is going to happen" if Brown could "get up there and focus." 

The magic didn't last long in New England after Brown sent threatening text messages to an artist who was the subject of a Sports Illustrated story earlier last week. The artist alleged that Brown had walked up to her wearing only a hand cloth over his penis as he spoke to her. Those text messages reportedly upset Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Brown was released after Kraft spoke with New England coach Bill Belichick. 

[RELATED: What we learned about Raiders in blowout loss to Vikings]

In each of his three NFL stops, Brown has worn out his welcome in increasingly quick fashion. His relationship with Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned icy, and the Steelers traded him to the Raiders. Fines over a confrontation with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock prompted the Raiders to void Brown's contract -- and for him to ask for his release. The last troubling allegation proved to be one too many for the Patriots, and now Brown is out of work.

"Now out of all three of those places you've been, up to today, where is the accountability for his actions," Moss asked. " ... I'm speaking from a teammate [perspective] -- I would not want to come in on Sunday or come in during the week and not focus on the game of football. And now that he doesn't have football, the people around him close better just pay attention to him and keep him close."

Brown alluded to filing a grievance over the Patriots withholding his $9 million signing bonus. That's owed to him Monday, and if Sunday's tweets are any indication, Brown likely won't take Moss' advice and keep quiet.

Randy Moss believes Antonio Brown 'hungry and determined' for Raiders

Randy Moss believes Antonio Brown 'hungry and determined' for Raiders

Antonio Brown has put up huge numbers over the last six seasons. Yet, somehow, it feels like the All-Pro wide receiver has something to prove as he joins the Raiders in a trade from the Steelers.

Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, a former Raider, believes Oakland is getting someone ready to put all this offseason drama behind him.

"I don't really know if those third- and fifth-round picks are going to work out," Moss said Sunday morning on ESPN. "We don't know who those players will be, but the one thing about it is, the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden are getting a hungry and determined wide receiver to get back to his old ways of dominating."

Ever since the final week of the 2018 regular season, Brown had been engaged in a back-and-forth squabble with the Steelers. Now it's up to Brown to perform on the field and make people forget about all the offseason antics.

"He had a little bit of uncertainty over the last couple of weeks, over the last couple of months," Moss said of Brown. "But now he has a team that he can just settle down, get to work, and I think him and Derek Carr can go make some magic."

Moss knows all about being traded to Oakland, then making magic. He was dealt from the Vikings to the Raiders in 2005, then caught 60 passes for 1,005 yards and eight TDs with Kerry Collins slinging him the ball. Those numbers would be low for Brown, but Oakland expects a similar impact.

More on the Antonio Brown trade

How Brown should change the Raiders' offense next season
Carr among the Raiders pumped about the Brown trade
Vegas changes Raiders' Super Bowl odds after the deal
Niners didn't want Brown, but they would like OBJ