After an impressive collegiate career at University of North Carolina (10.2 points and 8.2 assists per game as a senior, three Final Four appearances), Eduardo Cota didnt get too many serious looks from NBA teams. That was mainly because of two things: size and inability to consistently hit his perimeter shots. While the aforementioned still remains one of the biggest drawbacks about Cota, six years later he is a well known and well respected player in Europe.
Before this past seasons slump when he averaged a poor 3.3 points and 2.7 assists per game in the Euroleague, and was dismissed by Zalgiris after a drunken driving charge, Cota was regarded as one of the finest playmakers on the Old Continent who led the Euroleague in assists while playing in Kaunas for two seasons in a row. He cashed in nicely on a near 7-figure contract with Russian squad Dynamo St. Petersburg, led by recent Italian League Champion head coach David Blatt, and helped them win the FIBA EuroCup title in his one year stay there.
Cota is a rare case of a true pass-first point guard who prefers to look for his teammates rather then finding scoring options by himself. Ed possesses brilliant court vision and passing skills; he will get everybody involved and will do so not only effectively, but also in a flashy, crowd pleasing manner.
He is equally good in transition as he is in the half-court set. Because of his speed and lethal first step, Cota is able to get into the lane at will, finding the open man under the basket or kicking the ball out to the perimeter more often than taking it at the rim himself. He is a very decent on-ball defender, showing good lateral movement paired with excellent hands and anticipation skills which makes his a consistent threat in the passing lanes. Despite his size, Cota is a very good rebounder for his position, having a "nose" for the ball, and looking very keen to crash the glass.
Size was always an issue for Cota, he is just a hair over 6 feet and doesnt possess freakish athleticism to compensate for it. He is a good athlete, but not an outstanding one. Cota is still a poor shooter from any range, not showing a very soft touch on his jumper and being rather mechanical with his pull-up. He is also not particularly skilled in terms of his mid-range game, lacking a reliable in-between jumper he can go to, and struggling a bit to finish at the rim due to his lack of size.
Cota, who played for Zalgiris Kaunas and FC Barcelona last summer, recently signed with Israeli ULEB Cup participants Hapoel Jerusalem for next year. Even if he should be at the peak of his career at 30 years old, he was plagued by a lack of game fitness and rumors of off the court issues last season, to the point that he was left off Barcelonas playoff squad at the end of last season.
According to recent reports hes continued his streak of average performances and has been somewhat of a disappointment so far for the underrated Panama squad in preparation games. Regardless, hell be expected to shoulder a heavy load for his team and hell be given every opportunity in the world to show that his problems are behind him.