Rarely, if ever, has one name come from seemingly out-of-nowhere and caused such a stir amongst the U of L fanbase.
Since my man Austin Montgomery's FanPost Wednesday night, I've been flooded with questions concerning the mysterious Mr. Cotton. Who is he? Is he really good enough to play at Louisville? Is he secretly the reason LeBron chose Cleveland? The answer: I don't know; I'm not a Palo Verde High team reporter who made friends with everyone on the team.
Still, Austin's post and the succeeding buzz piqued my interest and forced me to do a little digging.
Though he was considered by many to be the best player in Tucson this past season, as of June 23, Bryce Cotton still had not received any Division I scholarship offers. Conversely, his chief high school rival, Santa Rita's Terrell Stoglin, is headed to Maryland.
In a cruel twist of fate, Cotton's signature prep moment came when he buried a jumper with 1.1 seconds to play to lift Palo Verde over Stoglin and Santa Rita. He finished that night with 29 points, bettering his rival by four.
Despite a solid outside game and a very impressive - albeit slightly short of 43 inches - vertical leap, Cotton has received nothing but offers from junior colleges and was recently listed as one of three players jockeying for two available scholarships from Houston Baptist University, a four-year school that just went Division I.
"A lot of good players tend to get overlooked," Cotton said recently. "Of course I'm upset, but I'm trying to use it for motivation. I just want an opportunity. Then, if I'm able to play against some schools that passed me up, I'll definitely let them know they missed out."
So could Louisville provide that opportunity? Would Terrence Jennings be willing to offer up his scholarship? Might J.R. Smith be willing to pay for both his little brother and Bryce Cotton to attend school in order to give the Cards a shot at a title?
Bryce Cotton wouldn't mind Louisville...and Louisville wouldn't mind a national championship.
August could be an interesting month.