After three seasons at Georgia Tech, Evan Cole will complete his college career at Utah Valley University. Cole announced his decision Monday via his Twitter account.
After announcing his intention to leave Tech as a grad transfer March 9, Cole was inundated with offers nationwide. Utah Valley was one of 11 teams that he had narrowed his choices down to, along with Boston College, Ohio State and Washington State among others, according to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.
Cole, from Cumming and South Forsyth High, said he was leaving in part because he was looking for a more consistent role and more minutes. At Tech, he played 12.6 minutes per game this past season, although the duration of his appearances varied considerably. He averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. He distinguished himself with hard-nosed play and his aggressiveness in going to the basket.
It’s conceivable that, with the departure of center James Banks and only Moses Wright returning in the frontcourt (although coach Josh Pastner has two freshmen big men signed and center Rodney Howard will transfer in from Georgia), Cole could have had a larger role as a senior.
Cole’s decision struck Tech assistant coach Eric Reveno in a unique way. As an assistant coach at Stanford, among the big men whom he helped develop for the NBA was Mark Madsen, who just finished his first season at Utah Valley.
“They’re both good people, they’re both the type of people you want to spend time with and they’re both people I’ve enjoyed dealing with,” Reveno told the AJC. “And I’m happy for Evan to have this opportunity, and I’m happy for coach Madsen that he’s going to have this good player, and so it’s good.”
Reveno said that Madsen reached out to him shortly after Cole put his name into the transfer database. Reveno said it was easy for him to speak well of Cole.
“The best thing I could say is we would have welcomed his return,” Reveno said.
Likewise, Reveno vouched for Madsen with Cole.
“He’s just a genuine, excitable, positive guy,” Reveno said of Madsen.
The two are similar in their competitive spirit, Reveno said.
“They enjoy a good fight,” he said. “They enjoy getting after it. They’ve almost got a smile on their face while they’re doing it. Madsen’s one of the most unbelievable ever at doing that.”
Cole will join a team that is in need of help. Utah Valley finished the season at 11-19, second to last in the Western Athletic Conference, under Madsen. Off that team, three of the top four leading scorers have left, either by transfer or completion of eligibility.
In a statement, Madsen called Cole a “special talent” with the versatility to play inside and outside.
“As I watched Evan’s game film, I was impressed with how many game-winning plays he made, game after game,” Madsen said. “He’s just a winner.”