Hey! Whatever Happened To Ed Cota

By Brian Taylor

We’re gonna do something different today kids.

I know usually I do this column about NBA guys that disappear, but today, we’re gonna look at a guy who had all the NBA tools in college, but never got it going in “The L”.

In the late 90’s, Carolina basketball was rising from the NCAA ashes, and recovering from the loss of Basketball God, Dean Smith. Antawn Jamison was the Heels’ headliner, and a brash, young forward by the name of Vince Carter was showing promise. The guy who kept it all together for the Heels back then was one Eduardo Enrique Cota, product of the City of Angels in California. At 6’1”, Cota was apt to fry defenders on the wings, that usually resulted in devastating results, like Vince Carter college posters.

Cota’s impact was immediate for the Heels, garnering props in 1997 for the ACC Rookie of the year. In his second year, he broke the ACC record for most dimes in a year, unprecedented for a guy only in his sophomore season. Three times, he led Carolina to the Final Four in the big dance (only to fall short). When all was said and done, and his career as a Tar Heel was over, next to his name in the tally sheet, you saw 1,000 points, 1000 assists and….wait for it…..500 rebounds. Remember, he was only 6’1”.

Eddie’s height scared away NBA scouts, so instead of packing it in, Cota cut his pro basketball teeth in the CBA with the Gary (IN) Steelheads. Remember when Isiah was running the CBA into the ground? Cota was on the team Zeke owned, before he abandoned ship to coach the Pacers (poor guy!). But while in Gary, Ed made the most of his situation, leading the Steelheads in 3 point shooting.

After Gary, Cota took his act overseas to Belgium, where head led Telindus BC to the 2001-2002 title. It was as if Cota was built for the International game, because the year after he signed with a Lithuanian team for two years (both yielding titles). If that wasn’t enough, he did the same thing in Russia with Dynamo St. Petersburg, a FIRST YEAR EXPANSION TEAM.

Most recently, Cota was seen in the FIBA basketball championships playing for Panama (both his parents are Panamanian). If you want a reminder of Ed’s skills, peep the YouTube!

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3 thoughts on “Hey! Whatever Happened To Ed Cota

  1. My favorite Ed Cota memory was actually how he took that 2000 team on his back and led a mediocre regular-season all the way to the Final Four. He helped make Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood first-round picks and actually made Kris Lang and Jason Capel look like real players. It’s no accident that Carolina went downhill immediately after his departure.

  2. I got to meet and hang out with Ed and some of the ‘Heels a little bit back in highschool. I attended the North Carolina highschool basketball camp and it was one of the coolest things I have ever had the chance to do. Two quick stories… I once saw Antawn Jamison eat close to 50 chicken wings at lunch one day and saw Ed Cota make six half-court shots in a row. All but one was nothing but twine! Good times in Carolina. Good times indeed.

    The Nugg Doctor

  3. Darn, and I said I wasn’t going to make a comment, but ah well. You know B, if you really want to answer the question of why Coda didn’t make the NBA, well…he was at the wrong Carolina school, and he was certainly wearing the wrong blue and white. I mean look at how many six feet Duke players somehow make the league (Redick, Duhon, Ewing…), but enough about the wrong blue and white. I can’t believe he played for Gary…wow, you would actually have to visit Gary to know how bad that is. Great story B!

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