INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- The last time Noah Cottrill walked off a basketball court in the Charleston area, he had just led Logan to the 2010 Class AAA state championship and brighter lights at West Virginia University were ahead of him.
The couple of years since have been as well-documented as they were humbling for Cottrill.
While he fell from good graces and eventually left WVU almost exactly two years ago, was an admitted drug addict and had a subsequent arrest in 2011 for possession of a controlled substance, he has made a quiet return to the court this year as a point guard for West Virginia Wesleyan.
And on Monday, Cottrill finally got the opportunity to display his skills in the Capital City area once again.
The Bobcats, under the direction of first-year coach and former WVU player Pat Beilein no less, improved to 6-5 on the year as they led from midway through the first half on to take a 70-59 win over West Virginia State in Institute.
Cottrill, who celebrated two years of sobriety on Dec. 27, spoke like a man who had learned quite a few lessons and who was thankful for another opportunity.
"It's been great on and off the court," Cottrill said of his experience thus far at Wesleyan. "Coach Beilein and the staff, the athletic director - they've been great. They've helped me, supported me - they know what I've been through. I heard some comments from the stands tonight but it doesn't phase me at all. I'm a new person.
"I took about a year and a half off of basketball and I'm still not 100 percent, I'm not the Noah that I used to be, but I'm going to get back to that."
He seems to be well on his way.
During the time off, Cottrill's weight rose to as much as 220 pounds but he has knocked that back to 195 now and is averaging 16.1 points per game this season, second-best on the team next to Kelsey Williams' 18.4.
Cottrill scored 13 on Monday while Williams, one of the West Virginia Conference's best big men, went for 23 points and six rebounds. But for Cottrill, who still has four years of eligibility, playing is something that can't be measured in statistics.
"I am an addict and trying to recover from that every single day, one day at a time. It's a humbling experience from not playing for a year and a half," Cottrill said. "I didn't touch a basketball for a year and a half. I was in the dumps. I tried to go to [Michigan] but I couldn't get released and some things happened and I wasn't really ready for that. But I found out I had four years at Division II and that's what I wanted to do."
Perhaps Beilein, who scored 1,001 points in his Mountaineer career, was as much of a story line as Cottrill on Monday.