Tekele Cotton's mom and high school coach can't wait to see the Cobb County native play in the Final Four with Wichita State.
Cotton is a sophomore but he's already making big plays for his college team. He began shooting hoops at age six. His mom Leza Jones was his first coach. She saw his love for the game at an early age.
"His stories in school always centered around basketball, everything in his life always centered around basketball," Jones said.
Cotton's favorite player growing up was Magic Johnson. He picked his number based on the former NBA All-Star, number 32. And he's carried that number as he's evolved into the player he is today, a player heading into his first Final Four.
"It's an honor for me right now because I know his love of the game. It was just my duty to do whatever I could to grow and mature with the game," Jones said.
The now 6'2" guard for Wichita State learned some of his skills while at Whiteford Academy in Mableton under coach Tyrone Johnson.
"Tough, real tough. I used to call him my dog, I mean he was just, he wanted to get the best player on the opposing team, sort of like what he's doing now at Wichita State," Johnson said.
Cotton is first graduate from Whitefield to play in a Final Four. Johnson said he's the type of player and man kids at the school can look up to.
"I can't think of a more coachable kid that I've had, or a kid that you spend time with in terms of player development and with the ability to be able to emphasize that they execute what you taught them in a short period of time," Johnson said.
Cotton's alma mater will cheer him and the Shockers on Saturday as they take on the Louisville Cardinals.
"We never imagined at the beginning of the year, but it is here. There's no telling what the underdogs will do, you love to root for the underdogs," Johnson said.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.