Hayesville's Cottrell carrying on family legacy

Hayesville's Cottrell carrying on family legacy


Hayesville's Cottrell carrying on family legacy


Hayesville senior Zach Cottrell has signed to play college basketball for Appalachian State.

Hayesville senior Zach Cottrell has signed to play college basketball for Appalachian State.

HAYESVILLE – Big Smoky Mountain Conference coaches were impressed with Zach Cottrell from the very start.

Enough so that the Hayesville senior could be a four-time BSMC Player of the Year if those same coaches vote that way at the end of this season.

Cottrell signed to play college basketball for Appalachian State earlier this month.

“I am very humbled and blessed to have an opportunity to get my education at ASU,” Cottrell said.

“The chance to play basketball while receiving a degree is the best deal going. I appreciate the schools that recruited me the last few years and look forward to playing in the Sun Belt Conference for Appalachian State University. I would like to thank my family, teammates, teachers and community for all the help they have given me to reach this goal. Hayesville is a great place to grow up.”

Cottrell is believed to be the first Division I recruit in the history of the Yellow Jackets boys basketball program. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard has accumulated 1,386 career points so far.

“We are thrilled to have Zach and his family become a part of our Appalachian family,” Appalachian State coach Jim Fox.

“Zach comes from a basketball family, and we are excited to add his toughness and versatility to our team next year. I look forward to watching him continue to get better this year and join us next summer.”

Cottrell committed back in early-October.

He was a Citizen-Times All-WNC selection as a junior after averaging 17.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Western Carolina, Charlotte, Lehigh and Mercer made competing scholarship offers.

Cottrell is the son of Yellow Jackets coach Michael Cottrell, who set a Western North Carolina record for career scoring (2,503 points) at now-defunct Cullowhee High from 1984 to 1987. Michael Cottrell coached the Hayesville boys to their first-ever NCHSAA 1-A championship in 2004.

“Zach is a special player, and we are a much better team because of his basketball skills and talents,” Michael Cottrell said.

“But his biggest asset to our program has been his unique ability to lead and make everyone around him better. We are very proud of his decision and opportunity to play at the next level.”

Hayesville is scheduled to open its season Friday at Swain County. The Yellow Jackets will have four starters back from last season’s 21-6 team that won the BSMC championship with an 11-1 record.

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