A Dream Deferred: Schea Cotton is leading by example

01/12/2018 6:09 AM - Devo

Just over a year ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Schea Cotton. Cotton was widely regarded as one of the most promising NBA talents ever.

Cotton played over 10 years professionally but never in the NBA. His story is a prime example of exceeding expectations in spite of what people think he did or didn’t do on the court. His biopic; Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story, will be seen during the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, its last private screening. From there his story goes nationwide.

I was fortunate to catch up with Cotton, and again learn how gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated at 15 may sound like a dream come true, but in reality, was the beginning of how he became a leader, a mentor, and someone people of all ages can appreciate.

The GM’s Perspective: It’s been a while since we last spoke, what’s been going on?

Schea Cotton: Wearing a lot of hats! Currently building a foundation; Manchild Elite Corp. It’s my sole focus right now; assisting our youth, educating and empowering them through mentoring and participation in athletics with a focus on integrity and hard work.

We also created a local based AAU team (SoCal). We’ve got about seven or eight guys that are working very hard and becoming very competitive. There’s a big tournament (A.C.E.S.) this weekend that we’re preparing for followed by the AVEC Hoyas New Years Kick-Off Classic at the end of the month.

The goal with the program is to put the kids in the best situation as possible and teach them the game of life through sport.

GMs: Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story will be having a private screening just prior to the 2018 NBA All-Star Game and released sometime in March.

How do you think it will be received (by the older generation of players and new generation)?

SC: I think it’ll be good. We’ve shown it at a few festivals and get mentioned or win awards at every single one. We want to get it out to the masses.

Part of the February 12th private screening is to bring the who’s who out to see Manchild. Big names, celebrities, ball players; we want this to be the biggest one because it’s our last private screening before it become available to the public.

GMs: Your prolific profile showcased you as one of, and quite possibly, the best high school player/pro prospect of all time. It really takes a special type of person to be able to handle all that hype.

Today it’s almost impossible for the accolades to not be mentioned somewhere within social media. What do you say to a young up and comer or someone on your AAU team (Manchild Elite), who is showing promise or has the the ability to get to the next level?

SC: All the attention is working against them. I don’t think it's necessarily a good thing, but you can’t stop it. Social media is everywhere. I never had this when I was growing up. If I did I’d probably break the Internet. We maximized what we had in front of us. It was a lot harder back when I was playing.

Control begins at home. What you learn from home carries into adulthood. The integrity that I live by was taught to me by my father and my mother. It starts in the household and carries on into the real world. When you get out in the real world with all the notoriety, fame, money... it’s devastating if you’re not prepared for it.

When it comes to players with potential, keep training like your life depends on it and don’t believe everything you hear. Focus on your strengths and stay around the people that love you for who you are not what you do. I also think it’s very important to have a spiritual component to your lifestyle. You'll really begin to understand what sacrifice and commitment really look like.

GMs: You were a trailblazer, a player who was bigger than the game at your peak. Did you ever think you’d be a leader and mentor to past and future players?

SC: I knew at some point I would do something that would impact lives for years to come. My goal was to leave a legacy. I just didn’t know how I was going to do that.

I feel now that I’m making an impact on the sidelines, not directly as a player, but as a mentor and coach. This is where God wants me and I’m going to be the best that I can be in this capacity.

GMs: During our last interview we touched on a great many topics and subjects, but there was always one question I wanted to ask...

If you could do it over would you?

SC: That’s tough considering having knowledge about certain things would directly affect my career. However, I love where God has brought me. I wouldn’t change the adversity I faced because that’s a big part of who I am today.

GMs: Any final words?

SC: Train like hell and don’t get too high or too low. Be a person of integrity and keep your nose clean. You have to give it everything you have because once it’s finished there’s no do-overs.

For those looking for more information on Schea, please visit Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story And those looking to connect on social media, you can follow him on Instagram: @scheacotton@manchilddoc@scheacottonmanchild @manchildelite Twitter: @scheacotton @manchilddoc@manchildeliete facebook @scheacotton, and Youtube @scheacotton

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Community Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter Facebook, and Instagram.

2015 Baseball America Independent POY continues historic run

12/05/2017 10:44 AM - Devo

Despite playing only three years of Independent baseball, Joe Maloney will go down as an all-time great.

Followers of the indy game are well aware of that and so are the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles signed the 2015 Baseball America Independent Player of the Year and two-time CanAm League MVP to a minor league deal.

Maloney was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Limestone College. He spent the first three years of his professional career within the Rangers system, but his success in college didn’t necessarily transfer over to the pro game. Excessive strikeouts and an average that never surfaced above .250 ultimately led Maloney to the Rockland Boulders of the CanAm League.

In his second season, Maloney put together his first MVP campaign when he hit .337 (2nd in the league) with 14 home runs (fourth) and drove in 83 (second). After two years in Boulder, and a combined 31 bombs and 49 doubles, he inked a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, Maloney’s numbers weren’t as they were were in Rockland, in fact they were substantially lower; .256/.322/.383 with 28 doubles, six home runs and 51 RBIs in just over 110 games. He also fanned 142 times in over 450 times at the dish.

After his release from the Twins, Maloney headed back to the Boulders where he put together, not only the best season of his career, but one of the best seasons in CanAm and Independent League history.

His 35 home runs broke the previous league record of 31 dingers set in 2005 by Eddie Lantigua. To put that in perspective, Maloney was going deep every 10.6 at-bats. He led the league with 101 RBI (second best in league history), 18 ahead of the next closest player and led the league in OPS (.997). No doubt, the guy can hit, which is why these upper level opportunities continue to present themselves.

In addition to his bat, Maloney is a versatile defender with the ability to play the outfield, first base and catcher. Dan Duquette, Orioles executive vice president, also commented on his abilities.

Maloney “is versatile defensively and can hit, especially [against left-handed pitching].”

He's expected to start the 2018 season at Double-A Bowie.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Community Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter Facebook, and Instagram.
(Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal New)

MVP Pugh putting up career bests in Vallejo

11/26/2017 6:32 PM - Devo

Originally drafted by the New York Mets in the 15th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Sonoma State University, Tillman Pugh never really put it all together in his first three minor league seasons.

This isn’t out of the norm. When it comes to independent league success stories, there seems to be a pattern when players don’t quite fit the bill in their first MiLB go around. But a trip to the independent leagues provides a platform to get back to the basics and have these players put up the numbers they're capable of.

Pugh batted .225 in his first three years where he split time between the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox organizations. His first foray in the Independent leagues was a success. As an original member of the Vallejo Admirals, he put up the best numbers of his life; .303 average, .932 OBP and 11 home runs with 44 RBI, 77 runs scored, a and league best 43 stolen bases.

Fast-forward three seasons and those personal bests have now been surpassed by MVP results.

After a tough 2016 when he was released by the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League, it was back to the drawing board. Being closer to home was the consistency he needed.

“I really enjoy familiarity and consistency and being close to home and friends and family made it an easy decision for me to return to the Admirals,” said Pugh. “Also, having a guy like PJ (Phillips) who I admire and trust already made this a no-brainer for me.”

2017 was the year Pugh finally put it all together. Not only was he recognized for his play on the field; 18 home runs, 58 RBI (top four in the league), 30 stolen bases and a 22-game hitting streak, he was acknowledged for his preparation and leadership.

“Tillman could have won the MVP for the man he is in the clubhouse as well, his preparation and leadership set the example for the team,” Admirals owner Kevin Reilly said in a news release. “It was no coincidence that the team’s fortunes improved as Tillman’s game warmed up.”

With the 2018 season just around the corner, there’s no word yet if Pugh will be signed by any MLB organization. Until then, there’s no doubt he’ll will continue to do whatever it takes to get to that next level.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Community Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter Facebook, and Instagram.

Coming off a huge TKO, sky's the limit for Myles "Fury" Jury

11/19/2017 8:22 PM - Devo

Myles “Fury” Jury is ranked 14th in the world in the ridiculously talented riddled UFC Featherweight division. With nine fights under his belt in the UFC and 18 professional fights to his credit, Jury is only beginning to reach his peak.

Jury began his UFC journey on The Ultimate Fighter 13 but a torn ACL cost him over a year. He came back on TUF 15 where he earned a spot on the house en route to a first-round submission of Chris Saunders.

Since, Jury has seen the best the sport has to offer, but has also dealt with losses that could cripple careers. Jury has the mindset and fortitude to take what’s given to him and makes it better.

Coming off a huge first-round finish in his last fight in April at UFC 210, he steps back in the octagon December 30 to begin that trek to his first UFC title.

The GMs Perspective: Myles, been a long time since we last spoke! So let's get right to the point, December 30th you face off against Rick Glenn, the former World Series of Fighting Champion (WSOF) in Las Vegas at UFC 219 on a card featuring Dominick Cruz and Carlos Condit.

What can the fans expect after you dominated your last fight against Mike De La Torre?

Myles "Fury" Jury: They can expect me coming in shape and ready to rock like always. I’m motivated. I’m in a good place right now mentally and physically and I’m excited. This is another great opportunity to go out there and make a name for myself and whoop ass.

GMs: In a previous interview, you said your time training at Tristar Gym was a short-term stay. What was that experience like and have you been back or plan to go back before December 30.

MJ: Solid, they have a very good training program. I went back probably about four or five months ago, but will not be there while training for this fight. I’m actually back with Alliance MMA and my full training camp will be there in San Diego.

GMs: You have fought the best in the world, have trained with the some of the best teams and best fighters, but I don’t think people grasp the mental strength you need to do this.

Prior to De La Torre, you came off two losses and that can be debilitating to a lot of people considering the success you’ve had in your career. How do you regroup and tell yourself that this was just a roadblock on the way to something bigger?

MJ: Taking it day by day. Each day I wake up and I try to do one thing that will bring me closer to my goal. Whether it’s training, dieting, or becoming more mentally strong to the grueling nature of this business. I have to have faith in the whole process and faith in where I’m going. If you have faith and believe in what you’re doing, you’ll do great in this sport.

GMs: Swagger, attitude, and confidence is huge in sports in general. We’ve talked many times, but it seems like this a different Myles Jury in and out of the octagon? Is that a correct assumption?

MJ: Yeah for sure. I’m always growing and changing. With a lot of the stuff I’ve gone through in my past and all the challenges I’ve been through, it all makes me stronger. My confidence is sky high and my motivation is stronger than ever. I’m definitely not the same fighter I was even a year ago.

Courtesy MMAjunkie

GMs: You’re very humble. And while this is a sport where trashing talking and demeaning your opponent is good for your brand and your future, you are always very gracious to your opponents regardless of the outcome and always very complimentary to your team and the process that goes along with a camp and the lead in to the fight.

You never hesitate to give a shout out to those like Jeremy Stephens, someone that’s been with you since the beginning. What’s it like knowing that at any given time you have the support of someone who’s done it more than once and has seen everything this sport has to offer?

MJ: It’s awesome and helps me separate what’s real and what’s fake. I got real people around me; a real team, real friends, my family, and my son. I have a great support group and it allows me to be myself. No matter what happens in the fight, I’m good to go. This is all a true blessing.

GMs: Sum up Myles Jury as a man, a father and as a fighter…

MJ: Perseverance. Never letting anything stop you from your dreams and your goals. I want to be the best father I can be. I want to be the best man I can be. I want to be the best fighter I can be.

To learn more about Jury, following him on:

Facebook: facebook.com/TheTeamFury

Twitter: @FuryJury

Instagram: @FuryJury

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Community Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter Facebook, and Instagram.

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