Monday, February 14, 2011

Cleveland State's Cole on Path to Stardom

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Coming out of high school, Norris Cole, a 5'11'' point guard, at the time, didn't receive many looks from major colleges.

Robert Morris gave him a look, but it seemed as if the Cleveland State Vikings (22-5, 11-4) were the only college serious about getting Cole in a uniform.

As a freshman, Cole didn't see the court as much averaging 14.4 minutes, while scoring 4.9 points, and 1.4 rebounds playing behind Cedric Jackson and Joe Davis.

In both his sophomore and junior seasons, many saw progression in Cole and nabbed him as one of the best in the Horizon League.

Playing in his final season, Cole has exceeded many expectations.

Cole has surpassed many legends on the all-time scoring list pouring in 1,768 points, which ranks fifth all-time in school history.

He is also 489 points away from overtaking Ken McFadden as the all-time leading scorer. His most recent 41-point, 20 rebound, nine assist game against Youngstown State has not only catapulted his name in the national media, but also landed him in elite company.

Cole was mentioned as a finalist for the Bob Cousy award that is given to College Basketball's top point guard.

"He's a special kid, and it doesn't faze him," said Vikings head coach Gary Waters. "I never worry about him getting a big head, he just comes out and plays."

Cole is definitely one of the top players in the nation. It's not many players that will grab 20 rebounds at 6'2'', not to mention, having 21 points, and 10 rebounds in the first half.

When asked about his performance Cole responded, "The basket just feels big," he said. "You don't get tired. The game just slows down to you."

"It makes the team more comfortable, because they are looking to you for that energy."

Cole is the second player in the last 15 years to accumulate at least 40 points and 20 rebounds, joining former Oklahoma Sooners star Blake Griffin.

Despite grasping such a rare accomplishment, Cole wasn't focused on his stats against Youngstown State. "I don't really play the stats when I'm out there playing," said Cole. "After the game I heard I needed one more (assist), but I'm more happy we got the win."

Cole has been very consistent scoring in double figures 33 straight games. Not to mention, leading the Vikings to another 20-win season as a starter.

During his sophomore season at Cleveland State, Cole lead the Vikings to an upset-win over a tough Wake Forest team that loss just seven games on the season.

Cole finished with 22 points and four assist, while playing a major role on the defensive end, helping hold Jeff Teague and L.D Williams to just 15 points, and eight turnovers combined.

This year's team is looking for that same energy headed into March. With the way Cole is playing right now, there shouldn't be anything preventing Cleveland State from receiving an at-large bid.

The Vikings are second in the Horizon League, just a half of game back from Valparaiso. Both teams have tough challenges in Wright State, and Milwaukee next.

Taking care of business during the final stretch of games should be the No. 1 priority for the Vikings, in hopes to receive a tournament bid.

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