MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The past year has been a roller coaster for West Virginia forward Isaiah Cottrell. The once 4-star recruit was having doubts about himself following his Achilles tear in December 2020.
“Just thinking about the uncertainty of how long is it going to take to come back,” Cottrell said on the Final Fourcast podcast. “Just thinking a lot about the bad things instead of thinking about the positive things that could come out of it.”
Now, Cottrell says he’s back and better than he was before the injury.
“I think I jump higher now than I did when I wasn’t injured,” Cottrell said last week. “I don’t even think about it now. I think everybody else thinks about it more than I think about it.”
Cottrell has spent the entire season in the starting lineup, accumulating 15.8 minutes through 27 games. Over the last couple weeks, the Las Vegas native has shown strides of improvement. Against Kansas State on Feb. 14, Cottrell scored a career high of 13 points. Cottrell’s three field-goals in the beginning of the second half extended West Virginia’s lead to double digits.
Against TCU on Monday night, Cottrell had his most efficient game of the season, scoring nine points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field.
Despite Cottrell playing well as of late, the 6-foot-10 forward is still hard on himself.
“I feel like I’ve been improving lately. We lost and I didn’t shoot it too well that game,” Cottrell said. “It’s just a stepping stone to get better.”
As Cottrell’s first full-season comes to a close, the redshirt freshman is averaging 4.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. Perhaps a full off-season with no injury rehab could really help Cottrell develop into the player that he wants to become.