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Norris Cole finalist for Bob Cousy Award

By William Wodka

February 17, 2011

The number 30, Norris Cole, for the Cleveland State Men’s Basketball team has been lighting up the court for years and is being rewarded for it. Cole was recently named one of the ten finalists for the Bob Cousy Award given out at the NCAA Tournament for best point guard in the nation.

Norris Cole

He is in the running with the likes of Duke’s Nolan Smith and DJ Gay of San Diego State University. However, it hasn’t been an easy road for Cole to get to this feat. He worked hard and his talents show.

Growing up in Dayton, OH, Cole played, among other sports, high school basketball. Cole along with teammate Aaron Pogue, who went to high school with him, were able to help win back to back Division II state championships for the Dunbar High School. During his reign at Dunbar High, Cole was a solid player.

Fast forward to his career at Cleveland State University, Cole has been pushing to step up his game. Through the years he has had to step up and be the leader for the team. Before Cole was ready for the leadership title he was able to get some help from teammate Cedric Jackson.

“Cole was able to play along-side Jackson,” said Coach Gary Waters. “During his freshman year I played Cole and saw potential. He started out as Jackson’s back up and played as a starter in the last few games of that season.”

Gone were the days when Jackson was speeding down the court ready to make a pass or take it to the hole. Cole had to really step up-not just as a player, but a leader too.

In August of 2009, Cole was invited to take part in a six-game, two week basketball tour in New Zealand. He had to take a five game training camp session in the States before meeting up with the team to fly over. This seemed to help Cole out a lot. In a game during the 09-10 season, Cole had a career high of seven steals that went for seventh best in CSU history.

He has no room for error as the Vikings try to make another push for the NCAA Tournament. Cole recently took part in a basketball camp instructed by NBA’s Utah Jazz’ Deron Williams. The camp that took place during the month of June was sponsored by Nike and gave Cole a chance to play at a higher skill level daily.

“I learned a lot, picked up different ways to play from others as well as integrate my own way and play at a very high level,” said Cole.

His success continues into this year where Cole was voted as First team All-Horizon League in the preseason polls. Cole’s statistics keep improving late into the season as he leads the conference with points, assists and steals per game, while being in second in free throw percentage. He is also fifth all time in points at CSU.

“It would be great to get the award, but I look at things for the team first. The team and winning is what matters. If we are winning then the individual successes will come together,” explained Cole on how it feels being compared to other great point guards.

Things just keep getting better and better for Cole, in a recent mock draft on nbadraft.com Cole was picked going 43rd overall to the Phoenix Suns.

Only time will tell when and where Cole will get drafted in the meantime he will continue to push to step his game up.

“He’s got killer instincts and an awareness of where to be, he has learned just about every aspect of how to play the position of point guard that you can,” said Waters.
If you would like to vote for Cole for the Bob Cousy Award go to cousyaward.com/vote. Voting ends on March 8. The field will be narrowed down to five on March 10th and the winner will be named on April 4.