Lakeview Academy’s Adam Cottrell may have connected on seven 3-pointers and scored a team high 25 points in the Lions’ overtime victory over Rabun Gap last Friday night, but his most impressive accomplishment from the game won’t show up on the stat sheets.
This year’s edition of the Lions is not the tallest bunch, and going into extra time against the Eagles, the 6-foot-3 Cottrell found himself going head to head for the jump ball with Rabun Gap-Nacoochee’s nearly 7-foot-tall center.
“All of our guys have to kind of chip in and do something I guess a little bit out of their comfort zone,” Cottrell said. “And for me, that’s the jump ball.”
Cottrell won the tip — the result of getting an early jump on the ball, according to him — and he proceeded to drill a 3 on the Lions first possession of overtime, setting the tone for the team’s 11-point advantage in the extra period.
If that’s not testament enough to Cottrell’s versatility — his blue collar, 10-point and 10-rebound double-double in a win against White County — the very next day certainly is.
“Like all my teammates, every night, I just try to go out and do whatever I need to do to win,” he said. “As a team player, I think just doing whatever I can to help the team on that night is what I want to do.”
Cottrell’s ability to contribute in multiple ways is why he is this week’s Times Athlete of the Week, but the senior is no stranger to adaptability over the course of his high school career. According to head coach Todd Cottrell, Adam has had to do a little bit of everything in his time with the Lions.
He’s been the go-to scorer, has come off the bench as a sixth man and played all five positions at some point over the years. Sometimes — like on Friday — Cottrell plays the role of sharp shooter, knocking down 3s and powering the offense to a win. On other occasions — such as Saturday’s bout against the Warriors — Cottrell stays most active on the boards, shooting sparingly while focusing on defense.
He exemplifies the team-first mentality that Todd Cottrell said his entire group has come to hold.
“There’s more to the game than scoring,” the coach said. “We’ve got a fantastic group of young guys, and they’re happy for each other. They pull for each other. I think that makes it easier for guys just to make plays, regardless of if it’s scoring or not.”
On Friday against Rabun Gap, it was scoring for Adam Cottrell. His frenzy of 3-pointers played a major role in playing to a draw through regulation and eventually taking the win over the Eagles.
He said the burst of shot-making was a result of the Lions offensive philosophy this season.
“In our team, we do this thing called ‘feed the fire,’” he said. “We have a lot of guys on this team that can be hot on any night. … We just try to feed the fire. We see a guy knock in a few shots, we try to get him the ball or at least a touch early in the possession until he misses a few.”
And while Cottrell was certainly the hot hand Friday, the fire was elsewhere the following game.
Still, Cottrell found a way to make his presence known, grabbing 10 boards to help the Lions win their second-straight game.
“If your shot’s not falling, maybe you lock down on defense, or maybe you get the rebounds or something like that, be really vocal on defense,” Cottrell said. “I think that’s the cool part about basketball. It’s not just one part to the game. There’s a lot of things you can do to change the game on any possession, so I think that’s a really cool part about the sport.”
Cottrell’s versatility even follows him off the court, where he’s student body president and near the top in GPA and test scores according to coach Cottrell.
Adam says organizational skills and great teachers are responsible for his success in juggling basketball with his academic endeavors. And as for his athletic skills, Todd Cottrell says Adam’s adaptability throughout his career is what has made him the player he is today.
“He’s extremely versatile,” Todd said. “He’s had to adjust roles throughout his high school career, and I think that’s helped him, and he works hard.”