MIAMI, Fla. – The whirlwind year for the 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year, Norris Cole, finally came to an end on Thursday night, in the best way possible. Cole’s Miami Heat captured the franchise’s second NBA title, besting the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
The title makes Cole, who starred at Cleveland State from 2008-11, the first Horizon League alumnus to capture a championship ring.
Cole appeared in all four Miami wins during the Finals, with his presence most felt during Game 4. With Miami down 13 points late in the first quarter, Cole checked in and helped spark the Heat to cut the deficit, scoring all eight of his points across the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter.
In the Finals, Cole averaged 3.3 points per game, while seeing the court for an average of just over 11 minutes per game.
Cole emerged early in his rookie season with 20 points in his second game, a nationally televised win over Boston. The game was part of a stretch in which Cole averaged 11.4 ppg to start his career. In 65 regular-season games, Cole averaged 19 minutes per game, posting 6.8 ppg and 2.0 assists per game, eventually helping the Dayton, Ohio-native earn All-Rookie Team votes at the end of the regular season.
Before being drafted 28th overall by the Chicago Bulls and traded to Miami on draft night, Cole became the first player in Horizon League history to be named the League’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
In his senior year at Cleveland State, Cole put on one of the top performances of the last decade in college basketball when he turned in 41 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists in a victory over Youngstown State.
Tags: Cleveland State - Men's Basketball · Horizon League - Men's Basketball