| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Gateway's Cottrell gets involved on IUP's playoff squad

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Photo: Indiana University of Pennsylvania athletics
Gateway graduate Devon Cottrell saw his first collegiate action in the 2012-13 season as the Indiana University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team won the PSAC title and made a run to the NCAA Division II national tournament.
By Dave Schrecengost
Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sitting out didn't sit well with Devon Cottrell.

The former Gateway basketball star red-shirted his first year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and while he knew it was the right thing to do, that didn't make the experience any easier.

“It was probably the hardest thing I've done when it comes to basketball,” he said.

Cottrell missed competing, but he needed time to get stronger and work on his game as he made the transition from high school basketball to college. He practiced with the team, learned coach Joe Lombardi's system and hit the weights, adding 10 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-7 frame.

“In high school, I couldn't tell you where the weight room was,” Cottrell said. “Now I'm in there all the time.”

Cottrell returned to the court for the 2012-13 season, and the redshirt freshman forward became a regular in Lombardi's player rotation. He saw action in 31 games, starting six of them, and averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds while playing 11 minutes a game.

He also produced 25 blocked shots, nine assists and seven steals for the Crimson Hawks, who went 26-6 and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 for the third time in the last four seasons.

“We had a lot of upperclassmen,” Cottrell said. “When I got my chance, I tried to make the best of every opportunity.”

Cottrell's top performance came Jan. 11 against Shippensburg, when he had 14 points, five rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot in 18 minutes. It was the only game of the season in which he reached double figures in scoring.

But his most memorable game may have been an exhibition contest in October when IUP visited the Petersen Events Center to take on Pitt. The Crimson Hawks battled hard in a 69-54 loss to the Panthers.

“It was a great experience,” Cottrell said. “Growing up, I always went to Pitt games.”

IUP's season ended March 19 with an 83-63 loss to top-seeded West Liberty in the 2013 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region championship game. The Crimson Hawks are one of only six schools in all of Division II to advance to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.

It was IUP's fifth straight 20-win season under Lombardi, who also guided his team to the school's ninth Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship and fourth straight PSAC West title.

“I had some offers at lower Division I schools, but I'd rather play at a high Division II school and win,” he said. “At IUP, it's all about winning. It feels good to be part of a winning program.”

IUP loses five players to graduation, so Cottrell will have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the starting lineup next season.

“I still have a lot to work on,” Cottrell said. “I'm going to work hard this off-season and see where that takes me.

“I'll be ready to play whatever role coach asks me to.”

Dave Schrecengost is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read District

  1. District college football preview: Cal (Pa.) visits Slippery Rock in PSAC clash
  2. Senior laden Robert Morris men’s hockey team hopes to erase last season’s disappointment
  3. Jeannette grad Craft running hard for St. Vincent football team
  4. Slippery Rock, Cal U in huge showdown
  5. Campus clippings: Sheerer cards best college finish for St. Bonaventure
  6. College notes: St. Vincent’s Harbert to retire at end of season
  7. Determination pays off for Ringgold’s Greaves at W&J
  8. Cal (Pa.) puts together dominant 2nd half, edges Seton Hill
  9. IUP receiver charged in robbery; another player accused of assault
  10. Switch to volleyball paying off for Kittanning grad Schall at Allegheny
  11. District college notebook: Geneva women’s volleyball team keeps rolling