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WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Schea Cotton

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This “Where Are They Now” is a bit different than the ones you may be used to. We usually update you on past Pack players, but this last weekend we got to catch up with a guy who was committed to the Wolfpack but never actually put on the red and white. His name is Schea Cotton… sound familiar?

Schea was once the #1 prep prospect in the land. Standing at 6’5 and weighing in at 215 pounds with some ridiculous rise (42 inch vertical). Cotton was a sure bet, a 2-time Parade All-American with NBA superstar potential and a NC State commit. After a fabulous high school career Schea verballed to UCLA, but before he could get there, the NCAA invalidated his SAT test score. He then decided to go a different route. Cotton enrolled in St. Thomas More Academy in Oakdale, Conn. were he starred, catching the attention of the Wolfpack. He was supposed to turn the NC State program around, he was supposed to be Herb Sendek’s first big time pickup and the one of the biggest gets in the class of ’98. However, none of that ever happened. 

Since late Summer 1998 there have been more questions than answers. Some say the NCAA disallowed Cotton’s SAT score, others say NC State decided not to honor the scholarship, while many believe it was Cotton who decided to part ways. Well we finally have a few answers thanks to a stroke of luck.

At Pangos (Long Beach, CA) this past weekend, they put together a staff of coaches that knew the ropes of recruiting. A college coach, an NBA assistant, a NBA/European player, and a player who the system did not work for….Shea Cotton.

On Saturday, I got to catch up with Cotton to tell him that he’s still on the minds of Wolfpack fans and to see what he’s been up to. We let him know NC State fans still wonder about him and his story has become somewhat of an urban legend. He’s still talked about as one of the best prep player people have ever seen.

” I love NC State fans. I do. It was really just a hard situation.” said Cotton. ” I wanted to be at NC State but the NCAA was coming down on me and was all over NC State for it. It was just better at the time to part ways.”

“I still keep track of NC State. Even though I became a SEC guy, I always check up on the Wolfpack. North Carolina is a great place. Such big time college basketball, and NC State, they were just good people.”

“You know it was a crazy time I mean, I just believe that if you just believe in God and trust in God, everything works out.”

Schea, a native of Long Beach is still involved a great deal with basketball. He is working with Dino Trigonis who works mainly with high school players looking to be scouted and recruited by big time college programs. Before that he was playing in Italy, Shanghi, France and Serbia.

We’d like to thank Schea for taking time out to talk to us and for being so open and honest with us. He’s a great guy and worked really hard to invest in the kids at Pangos. We also gave him our card to let him know that if he wants to keep up with NC State Basketball, this is the place to do it. He told us he’ll be checking us out, so if you want to show Shea some love, feel free.

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Pack in the Pros

Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette

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Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.

“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said.  “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)

This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.

Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.

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Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19

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Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.

According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.

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Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization

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Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.

The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.

Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.

Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.

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Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.

After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.

In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.

In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).

Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.

According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.

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