The first time I saw Bill Cole in person, I passed about a foot behind him. I almost gawked at his teensy abdomen.
He was pulling his shirt up to his mouth, exposing an area that ostensibly held most of a human digestive system. I wondered whether I could encircle it with my hand, touching my pinky to my thumb around the circumference.
That was September 2007, at a gymnasium in Montreal.
For the next two years I wondered why Bill Cole was still with the team. While message board posters projected him as the power forward of the future, I kept thinking about matchsticks. Wet ones.
But then, something ignited.
I remember the Cole Cotillion perfectly. I can envision it in real time. “What the hell was that?” I probably exclaimed, as a Tasmanian blur engulfed the Wofford perimeter.
Bill spent the next two years throwing himself at everything. Whatever it took, Bill Cole did it. If you want to know what Bruce Weber’s offensive and defensive philosophies look like in action, watch Bill Cole.
Some people still don’t get it.
His teammates voted him captain. His coach keeps thrusting him on the court. Are they all crazy?
Bill’s belt size increased, slightly. His arms are bigger, but he’ll never play power forward.
On the other hand, with Bill Cole, “never” is rarely apt.