The Miami Heat officially signed 2011 first-round draft pick Norris Cole today. The move puts Miami at 14 roster spots, one fewer than the maximum number of players teams can attain for a season. In just a matter of hours since free agents could officially sign deals, Pat Riley has already nearly completed re-tooling his roster, adding Shane Battier, Eddy Curry and Cole and re-signing Mario Chalmers, Juwan Howard and James Jones.
For now, Cole stands behind Chalmers on the point guard depth chart. The free agent crop for point guards is so barren that Cole could have a spot in the rotation his rookie year. He probably won't receive a whole lot of minutes once Mike Miller comes back from his injury, allowing Miami to use less-traditional, lengthier lineups, though. The Cleveland State standout is known as a tenacious defender with speed who can shoot the 3.
Here's the press release just sent out:
MIAMI, FL – The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed guard Norris Cole. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Cole, a 6'2", 170-pound guard, played four seasons at Cleveland State University appearing in 140 games (106 starts) and averaged 14.1 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.48 steals and 29.4 minutes while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 82.6 percent from the foul line. He finished his collegiate career as Cleveland State's all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played (140), consecutive starts (105) and minutes played (4,114). He finished second on the school's all-time list in wins (90) and free throw percentage, third in points (1,978), free throws made (485), field goal attempts (1,555), tied for third in assists (455), fourth in free throw attempts (587) and field goals made (677), fifth in three-point field goal attempts (433), sixth in steals (207) and ninth in three-point field goals made (139).
Cole was named as the 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year and the 2011 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the only player in league history to capture both honors during the same season. He set single-season school records during his senior season in points (780), minutes (1,285), field goal attempts (572), free throws made (227) and free throws attempted (266). Additionally, the five-time Horizon League Player of the Week last season posted just the second 40-20 game in Division I over the last 15 years, scoring 41 points while grabbing 20 rebounds vs. Youngstown State on February 12, 2011.
The Miami HEAT acquired the draft rights to Cole (28th overall) during the 2011 NBA Draft from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall) and a future second-round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.