Cotton commits to USM
by Andy Collier
Oct 10, 2012 | 2575 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
East Side basketball standout LaShyra Cotton made a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
East Side basketball standout LaShyra Cotton made a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
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East Side High School forward LaShyra Cotton, who has been the top girls player in the area over the last two years, has made her decision on where she will play basketball next season.

On Sunday, the senior gave her verbal commitment to play for the University of Southern Mississippi. USM plays in Conference-USA in the Division I ranks. Other schools that were recruiting Cotton were the University of Central Arkansas, Delta State University, Prairie View, Alcorn State, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi Valley State and Northwestern.

Cotton, who currently has a 3.7 grade-point average with a 21 on the ACT, said the environment and USM, which is located in Hattiesburg, suited her.

“I liked the campus,” Cotton said. “I liked the coaching staff and the players. I kind of felt like I could mesh with the players. I have family in Hattiesburg, and it’s also close to home.”

Cotton said she is appreciative of the chance she has to play Division I basketball.

“I feel extremely blessed,” Cotton said. “I give thanks to God, my coach, my dad and everybody that helped me prepare. I’m excited.”

Cotton has produced some big numbers at East Side in her career. Last year, Cotton averaged 18.7 points per game to go with 7.8 rebounds, 4.1 steals and three blocked shots a night. Cotton’s production helped East Side win the Region 4-3A Championship and finished the season at 25-4 with an appearances in the 3A North Half Playoffs.

In her sophomore season in the 2010-11 school year, Cotton averaged 17.8 points per game with an average of 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per contest. In that season, East Side went 22-6 with a trip to the 3A North Half Playoffs.

Cotton said she has enjoyed her time at East Side.

“The last couple of years have been amazing,” Cotton said. “My teammate Errica (Blair) is a senior with me. We’ve went through a lot and been through a lot together. We’re pretty close.”

One thing that would be special for Cotton is if East Side can advance to the 3A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson with a shot at the state title during her senior season. Cotton has played on good teams, but has yet to play in the state tournament.

Cotton felt good about the team’s chance of advancing to Jackson this year.

“All we have to do is work hard and keep practicing and stay focused on what we’re doing,” Cotton said.