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Cotton Is High
Austin Murphy
July 25, 1994
Summertime and the basketball is easy for Schea Cotton, a high school soph who has colleges drooling
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July 25, 1994

Cotton Is High

Summertime and the basketball is easy for Schea Cotton, a high school soph who has colleges drooling

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"When that three is falling, the points can pile up pretty quick," says Big James in the Ocean View gym, smiling at the memory of the Mater Dei-Bullard game. While he talks, he seldom looks from the monitor of the camcorder with which he is taping this night's game. Like clockwork, Big James arrives 30 minutes before tip-off with his camcorder. He has taped, he estimates, about 300 of his sons' games. "I like doing it," he says. "I'm the kind of person who's got to have a routine."

This puts him in mind of the routine awaiting Schea in August. "He's going to work," says Big James. When Schea finally does get his driver's license, he'll be tooling around in a '66 Mustang, a gift from his great uncle Teddy Lawrence. Says James, "Schea wants new wheel covers, a paint job, a stereo system. I told him that's fine. But he'll work to pay for it. I can't stand a lazy boy."

On the court Schea rejects the shot of a Los Alamitos player. Then he takes a pass, dribbles the ball through three opponents, explodes from the floor like an Olympic long jumper and unleashes a cataclysmic jam. A tight smile flashes on Big James's face, then disappears. "He's got a lot of work to do yet," the father says. "Long as you work hard, I'm happy. You don't have to be the best player in the world."

And Schea isn't. He is merely its best 10th-grader.

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