Norris Cole made a splash on scouts radar with his performance at the Deron Williams Skill Academy; he not only held his own, but even out played some of the higher touted guards at that camp. It’s no surprise when you look at Cole’s college statistics, Cole improved his numbers EVERY SEASON. Cole reminded me of a “poor man’s” Kemba Walker and I mean that with no disrespect, the only reason I use “poor man’s” is that he went to a smaller school which left him under the radar. Their games have many similarities as well. The biggest similarity, they are both FEARLESS in “the moment.”Cole is a big school talent that attended a small school, had he attended a Duke or Kentucky than we would have ALL known who he was.
Cole’s College Statistics: Sophomore- 13.3pts, 2.5reb, 2.4ast, 1.2 stl, while shooting 45% from the floor. Junior-16.3pts, 2.8reb, 4.4ast, 1.8stl, while shooting 43% from the floor. Senior-21.7pts, 5.8 reb, 5.3 ast, while shooting 44% from the floor.
What that shows me is that his game evolved every year, he went from a pure scorer to more of a complete point guard. He started to get his teammates involved more every year, he learned how to lead a team. Cole’s knock on him going into the draft was that he was wrongly labeled a “combo” guard, what’s wrong with a point guard that can get his teammates involved as well as get himself going when needed. That’s what makes a “complete” point guard, no one mentioned the fact that he was on the boards the way he was, or that he was working on defense as evident by his steal numbers.
Am I running a campaign for Cole to start over Chalmers, not quite. I’m simply saying that every team in the league that still needs point guard help failed by letting him slip that far. In just two NBA games, Cole has garnered national attention by his play. Cole is not in awe of his teammates, rather he holds himself accountable and plays as if he’s an equal out on the floor. So him stepping up wasn’t a surprise to me, the kid had 14 points in the 4th with Rajon Rondo guarding him. There aren’t many better defenders in the league at that position, Cole’s ability to score means the Celtics had to play HONEST on the defensive end down the stretch. They couldn’t use Rondo’s peskiness as a help defender, Cole commands respect with his scoring touch. Had this been last year, had it been Chalmers on the floor I truly believe the Heat would have caved and lost this game. Chalmers is a good spot up shooter, but he is a shooter and nothing more. That’s the beauty in having Cole on the floor, he can SHOOT, but he is a better SCORER of the basketball than Chalmers.
Cole’s great play last night did nothing more than affirm my belief that scouts, like fans get enamored with the school next to the player’s name rather than the player’s tools. It’s validation that he was lottery type talent and scouts missed on him, I understand he went to Cleveland State but how did you not SEE what he brought to the table. For a small school guy, he came to the table with many strengths and few questions in terms of talent. There weren’t any red flags character wise, so can you tell me what it was other than seeing “Cleveland St.” at the top of the scouting report?
Here’s Chad Ford’s Player Evaluation of Norris Cole: Strengths- Steady, true point guard. Very Complete Skill Set. Great Basketball IQ. Good shooter with Range. Solid athlete.
Negatives- Doesn’t do any one thing great. Playing under the radar.
Player Traits: Shooting, Penetrating, Passing.
What are your thoughts upon reading that, how is passing on a point guard with that scouting report not a mistake? Share your thoughts and comments below!!