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Tom Mieskoski


Cleveland State will participate in the 2011 TicketCity Legends Classic in November.

All four opponents that CSU will face in the Legends Classic participated in the postseason last season.

CSU opens up play in the Legends Classic on Nov. 13 at Vanderbilt in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The Commodores return all five starters from a team that went 23-11 last season and lost to Richmond in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Then CSU will play the rest of the tournament during Thanksgiving weekend in the Kingston subregional at Rhode Island.

CSU will play Boston University on Nov. 25, Hofstra on Nov. 26 and Rhode Island on Nov. 27.


Tom Mieskoski


Ever since he can remember, Norris Cole has dreamed of playing in the NBA.

He is planning to take a step closer to his dream on Thursday and hopes to hear his name called during the NBA draft (7 p.m., ESPN).

Most draft experts have Cole being selected in either the late first round or early second round.

"I'm not nervous. I'm just looking forward to hearing my name called," Cole said on Wednesday in a conference call. "Whatever team picks me, I'm going to work very hard and earn the respect of the veterans and the coaching staff so that I can get some playing time and contribute to the team."

Cole will watch the draft with his family and friends in his hometown of Dayton.

David Aldridge of rates Cole the ninth-best point guard in the draft and rates Cole the 48th-best prospect.

As of Wednesday, had Cole to Chicago with the last pick in the first round (30th overall).  Every other mock draft has Cole going in the second round.


Tom Mieskoski


It has been 25 years since a Cleveland State player has been drafted in the NBA.

The last CSU player to get drafted was Clinton Smith, who was selected in the fourth round (98th overall) by the Golden State Warriors in 1986.

Only four CSU Vikings have played in a NBA game.

They are Franklin Edwards, Darren Tillis, Smith, and most recently, Cedric Jackson, who went undrafted in 2009 and then was called up from the NBA Development League to have brief stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards.

Edwards and Tillis were both first round draft picks. The Philadelphia 76ers took Edwards in the first round (22nd overall) in 1981 and the Boston Celtics took Tillis in the first round (23rd overall) in 1982.

Norris Cole is hoping to follow in their footsteps and hear his name called during the NBA draft on June 23.

The 6'1" point guard from Dayton has been training for the draft in Atlanta with Ohio State's David Lighty and under the supervision of former NBA player Sedric Toney.


Tom Mieskoski

NIT_logoThe College of Charleston ended Cleveland State's season on Saturday in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

It was poor shooting that cost CSU the victory, as the sixth-seeded Cougars upset the second-seeded Vikings, 64-56, at the Wolstein Center.

CSU couldn't overcome shooting a dismal 1-of-25 (four percent) from three-point range. They also shot 33 percent (23-of-69) from the field.

"This has been a great year regardless of what occurred out there today," said CSU coach Gary Waters. "Sometimes the ball doesn't fall for you. When that happens nothing you can do."

Even Norris Cole struggled from the field shooting 6-of-22, including 0-of-8 from three-point range.

"It was a bad shooting day," said Cole. "Some of the shots were bad selection; others, the ball didn't bounce our way."

The Vikings finish the season at 27-9. The 27 wins are the second-highest single season total in school history, trailing only the 1985-86 squad who won 29.

CSU also set several school records this season. They won their first Horizon League regular season championship (shared with Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Butler). They also set school records for most wins to start the season (12), most wins before Jan. 1 (14), fastest to 20 wins (Jan. 29), most home wins (17) and most Horizon League wins in a season (13).

"My hat goes off to these young men because they worked their tail off," said Waters. "This was a special group. I had some pretty good teams and this one is up there because of how hard they work. There's not a team that works harder then this team in practice.

"I think what hurt us was not having a bench. I think it wore on them physically."


Jonathan Knight

mouseKevin Mackey kneaded his hands together obsessively, feeling sweat begin to pinprick into tiny beads across his forehead as the pounding of his pulse in his ears sounded like waves along Lake Erie's rocky shore.

The room he sat in on this Sunday evening, filled with such young, vibrant energy just a few minutes before, had drawn eerily silent once six o’clock arrived. Everyone watched morbidly over the next few minutes as the names of dozens of other schools popped up on the television screen. But not theirs.

Twenty-four hours before, the 1985-86 Cleveland State Vikings had completed their mission, doing everything in their power to earn their first invitation to the NCAA tournament. With a gritty win over Eastern Illinois witnessed by less than 2,800 spectators in Springfield, Missouri, the Vikings had captured their first Association of Mid-Continent Universities (affectionately known as the AMCU-8) tournament championship with their 12th straight victory, bringing their overall record to an impressive 27-3.

But now, with the NCAA tournament in just its second year as a 64-team field and the qualification process still evolving, Cleveland State was at the mercy of the selection committee. And as the names scrolled across the screen on the tiny television in this cramped room in the CSU Physical Education Building, it looked more and more like the Vikings were going to get passed over – just as they had the year before by both the NCAA and NIT committees despite 21 victories and their first regular-season AMCU-8 crown.

Now, as the 1986 tournament bracket began to fill in, the Vikes’ third-year head coach was getting a bad feeling. Ohio Valley Conference champ Akron, whom Cleveland State had defeated by 12, was announced. Then came DePaul, whom the Vikings had trounced by 15 at the Rosemont Horizon in January. Of course, Big Ten champ Michigan was in as a No. 2 seed, and Mackey wondered if anyone on the selection committee knew that his Vikings had given the Wolverines a good half of basketball back in December, trailing by only two at the intermission.

As each school’s name was announced and the number of spots left on the bracket dwindled, it just didn’t feel like it was going to happen.

The top half of the fourth and final bracket filled in – still no Cleveland State. Mackey knew, even if his players didn’t, that if they weren’t invited now, they never would be. There was nothing more he could do, no better team he could assemble here, none that was better qualified to earn a tournament spot. It looked as though once again these talented but generally unrefined young athletes, most from inner-city neighborhoods, would be passed over. They would never have another shot to show how good they could be.


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