Norris Cole added another historic achievement to his glorious career at Cleveland State.
On Monday, the senior from Dayton became the first player in Horizon League history to be named both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
But he would trade those awards in for another Horizon League tournament championship and a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament again.
"It's a special award [being named Player of the Year]," said Cole at a press conference on Monday. "I think it shows that hard work pays off, but I rather win a championship and get back to the NCAA's. That's the primarily goal for me right now."
Cole led the Horizon League in scoring (21.6), assists (5.5) and steals (2.2), carrying CSU to a share of its first Horizon League regular season title in school history. He joins Darius Clemons (Loyola, 1980-81) as the only players to lead the Horizon League in all three categories in the same season.
He says winning the Defensive Player of the Year is most gratifying to him.
"Winning the Defensive Player of the Year, I think it says something," said Cole. "It shows that our program plays defense. And that if you put the combination of both you can be a very special player."
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound guard had one of the most memorable performances in recent NCAA history recording a 40-point, 20-rebound and nine assist performance against Youngstown State on Feb. 12. He joined Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) as the only players in the past 15 years to have achieved a 40-point and 20-rebound game.
"I was really overjoyed that Norris was Defensive Player of the Year, " said CSU coach Gary Waters at his media gathering on Monday. "Norris shut people down and they finally recognized him.
CSU's Trevon Harmon was also named to the All-Defensive team. He finished tied for fourth with 1.5 steals a game.
"I liked that Tre was on the All-Defensive Team, but I think they should have an All-third team," said Waters. "I think Tre would have made the third team. I think Tre had a phenomenal year."
The other award winners included Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Rob Jeter (Coach of the Year), Detroit's Ray McCallum (Newcomer of the Year) and Loyola-Chicago's Geoff McCammon (Sixth Man of the Year).
Joining Cole on the All-Horizon League first team were Matt Howard of Butler, Vaughn Duggins of Wright State, Anthony Hill of Milwaukee and Brandon Wood of Valparaiso.
The second team All-Horizon League consisted of Detroit's McCallum and Eli Holman, Shelvin Mack of Butler, Rahmon Fletcher of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and N'Gai Evans of Wright State.
Joining Cole and Harmon on the All-Defensive team were Holman, Ronald Nored of Butler and Howard.
McCallum was joined on the All-Newcomer team with Kaylon Williams of Milwaukee, Paul Carter of Illinois-Chicago, Alec Brown of Green Bay and Damian Eargle of Youngstown State.
CSU in polls: In other CSU news, the Vikings received a vote in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. In the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, CSU stayed put at No. 10.
2011 Horizon League Awards:
Player of the Year: Norris Cole, Cleveland State
Newcomer of the Year: Ray McCallum, Detroit
Defensive Player of the Year: Norris Cole, Cleveland State
Sixth Man of the Year: Geoff McCammon, Loyola
Coach of the Year: Rob Jeter, Milwaukee
Norris Cole, G, Cleveland State
Matt Howard, F, Butler
Vaughn Duggins, G, Wright State
Anthony Hill, F, Milwaukee
Brandon Wood, G, Valparaiso
Shelvin Mack, G, Butler
Rahmon Fletcher, G, Green Bay
Ray McCallum, G, Detroit
Eli Holman, F, Detroit
N'Gai Evans, G, Wright State
Kaylon Williams, G, Milwaukee
Paul Carter, F, UIC
Alec Brown, C, Green Bay
Damian Eargle, F, Youngstown State
Trevon Harmon, G, Cleveland State
Ronald Nored, G, Butler
Matt Howard, G, Butler
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