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MHS grad to play Division III basketball

Malibu High School graduate Trey Cotwright has come a long way, from the MHS gym to Division III basketball. Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media
MHS graduate Trey Cotwright will attend Crown University in Minnesota. Alex Vejar/22nd Century Media
Alex Vejar, Assistant Editor
4:05 pm PDT June 13, 2016

From the moment Malibu High School graduate Trey Cotwright set foot on the basketball court two years ago after transferring from Westlake High School, he made his presence felt. 

During his first scrimmage with the team, Cotwright and then-junior Dane Marshall wrestled on the floor for the ball. As one of Cotwright’s arms shook loose, Marshall pulled it back. The next time down the floor, Cotwright barreled his way into the lane and right into Marshall for a basket. 

From that point on, the message was sent to his new teammates that Cotwright would be a force on the basketball court and that he was serious about making on impact on the team right away. What they probably didn’t know at the time, however, is Cotwright’s competitive drive was the product of many years of slights against him. 

“When someone tells me I’m not good enough, [I think], ‘OK, well now I have to prove to you that I’m good enough,” Cotwright said while sitting at midcourt of the MHS gym on Thursday, June 9. “And if I can’t prove to you that I’m good or that I’m better than you in any way and then you beat me at something, best believe that day I’ll go out and work on whatever I needed to work on...until the next time I see you and I will beat you that next time.”

This fall, Cotwright will take that adversarial attitude to Crown College, where he will play Division III basketball. 

Cotwright took to the sport at a very young age. He would spend hours watching tapes on Michael Jordan and retire to the back of his house to dunk a basketball in a small Fisher Price hoop. 

When he played Mighty Mites basketball, Cotwright purposely ignored the defensive rules in youth basketball that required an opposing team to stand in a line and only put their hands up while the offensive team shot the ball. Instead, Cotwright stole the ball from players and blocked shots. 

“He had a fire in him,” Cotwright’s mother, Lyn, said. 

But when Cotwright got to high school, he experienced some negative attention. Lyn said Cotwright wasn’t allowed on the varsity basketball team at Westlake High School and that parents from Newbury High School were mean to him. 

However, Lyn feels those occurrences only fueled her son’s fire. 

“All those slights, I think, pushed him harder and harder,” Lyn said. “He never gave up. He always got stronger and worked harder.” 

Now that Cotwright has committed to attend Crown College, which is located in Minnesota, he’s looking forward to the times when his mettle will be tested on the basketball court, especially games he will play in opposing arenas with students that may heckle or taunt him. 

“When I was younger, I always wanted to play in college and be in one of those big gyms and everyone packs in and it’s loud and the next day at school, everyone’s talking about you,” Cotwright said. 

But basketball is the not only area in which Cotwright might wants to succeed of the court. He said he plans to study film or history in college, and attend law school afterwards. 

Academics has been uniquely important to Cotwright throughout his high school years. He said he grapples with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, as well as a processing disorder. 

But those ailments have only motivated Cotwright to make sure he performed better in school so he could keep his basketball eligibility, which should translate when he attends the university, he said. 

“I want to play,” Cotwright said. “I have to have good grades [to be eligible], so it’s going to push me to make sure I have good grades.”

While only having coached Cotwright for two years, MHS head coach Richard Harris said he enjoyed Cotwright’s demeanor every day in practice.  

“Trey is one of the happy-go-luckiest, good-character, quality-character-type people, best overall players I’ve coached,” Harris said, adding that he felt Cotwright would perform well in college. 

Cotwright said he learned valuable lessons from his coach, including how to be a better leader. 

“I thought to be a captain, you had to be willing to scream and get in someone’s face and yell,” Cotwright said. “He taught me that you don’t always have to do that. You can talk to someone in a different way.”

Cotwright said he will miss playing with his MHS teammates and debating politics with his teachers. But his mother said what she’ll miss dearly is her son.

“It’s going to feel like an emptiness, almost,” Lyn said. “I’ll be lost.” 

Right now, it seems that all Cotwright is thinking about is improving in not only in life, but in the game he loves. And he doesn’t care how hard he will have to work to get there. 

“I don’t want to have fun when I’m playing basketball,” Cotwright said. “I want basketball to hurt. I want basketball to suck because someone’s beating me up. That makes me better.”