Norris Cole is taking his talents to South Beach.
The Miami Heat traded up to move back into the first round to acquire the rights of the former Cleveland State point guard.
Cole was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 28th pick overall, but they quickly dealt him to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who then moved him to the Heat.
“I’m feeling really good,” Cole told the Dayton Daily News. “I always wanted to be a first-round pick, and I’m around the people who supported me from day one. I wanted to play for a contending team, and they’re definitely a contender.”
Cole also said he's looking forward to playing with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
“It don’t get any better than that," said Cole, who watched the draft from his parents’ home in Dayton with about 80 family members and friends. "I’m going to go down there and work hard and earn their respect.”
Cole becomes the eighth CSU player to be drafted into the NBA and was the first Viking taken since Clinton Smith in 1986.
He joins Franklin Edwards and Darren Tillis as the only Vikings selected in the first round.
Edwards was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 22nd pick overall in 1981 and Tillis was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 23rd overall pick in 1982.
"I’m extremely happy for Norris,” CSU coach Gary Waters told the Dayton Daily News. "I talked to the Miami Heat a lot, and they said they really wanted Norris but didn’t know if he’d be there for them.
"They told me they needed his speed to help their defense. They were looking for a guard, and he was the guard they wanted.”
In Cole, the Heat are getting a complete player who plays on both ends of the court. Cole was the only player in the nation last season to average at least 20 points (21.7), five rebounds (5.8) and five assists (5.3) per game. He was the Horizon League's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and was named an honorable mention AP All-America.
The 6'2'', 175-pound Cole is best known for his flat top and once had a 41-point, 20 rebound and nine assist outburst against Youngstown State in February. Blake Griffin is the only other player to have a 40-point and 20 rebound game in the past 15 years.
Cole has had some success playing at American Airlines Arena as he was CSU's leading scorer in both of its NCAA tournament games in 2009. He had 22 points and four assists in CSU's first-round upset of Wake Forest as a sophomore and 17 points in their second-round loss to Arizona.
"This is a terrific pick up for the Miami Heat," said David Aldridge of NBA.com. "We all saw them in the finals really struggling to try to find consistent point guard play. They now finally think Mario Chalmers is ready to start and if he's ready to start they now need a backup.
"Norris Cole is a flat-out scorer who will help them get some production out of that position."
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