Watching Cole Middleton over the past couple of seasons, I've grown very fond of his game. He has to be one of the hardest-working kids in the state of Georgia right now. He is an exceptional rebounder, can finish in the lane over bigger defenders, and has extended his range out to the perimeter. Couple that with his high academics and the way that he carries himself, what's not to like about the kid? He's a kid that is going to make the right coach happy, everybody wants their players to be as hard-working as Cole both on the court and in the classroom.
Now to our conversation with C/O 2021 Forward out of Pace Academy (GA) Cole Middleton in Q&A form:
Q: Tell me about your upbringing, where are you from originally?
A. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.
Q: Who’s your support system?
A. Definitely my family. I also do have a select few friends that I’m cool with and hang around and they’re a good support system.
Q: Do you have any siblings? What are their names and how old?
A. I have a younger sister named Sydney who just turned 16 and a younger brother named Jaden who just turned 12.
Q: Tell me what a typical day is like for you in the Middleton Household?
A. Right now with the pandemic and everything my family that I live with has to be extra careful around everyone. In the morning I wake up around 8 or 9 and workout for an hour, and then I’ll come inside and get breakfast with my family and chill with them around the house. I may go work out or do yoga/stretching before lunch. Soon after I work out again and then relax/chill the rest of the day and try to get some reading in now and then especially because school is starting back up soon.
Q: The AAU season has been crazy this year, what has the change been like for you?
A. It’s been kind of complicated this year. I didn’t play last AAU season because I played with an independent Adidas team and we didn’t do as well so a lot of my friends left and my coach got offered the position to be the Georgia Stars EYBL Head Coach, so we left the team and went to go play under him. Due to the pandemic, they’ve been trying to keep up as safe as possible so we’ve been on and off with practices, playing, and everything. But Nike came out with a statement saying that we couldn’t play under our Georgia Stars name in case someone contracted the virus so we’ve been playing under a pseudonym "Georgia Select All-Stars". (Cole has since moved on to play for Sniper Elite).
Q: How do you describe your game?
A. I used to be a power forward but I’ve transitioned more to a small forward. Basketball nowadays has become positionless but I’ve been trying to transition from the big-man type stigma that I have to more of a versatile forward kind of guy. I’m a big guy so I’m more comfortable playing down low but I’ve learned how to dribble and shoot. My shot’s gotten better so I’m more comfortable playing on the wing and guard spot if needed. I like crashing the board, playing down low and I’m strong so I can fight down there with a lot of guys that are bigger than me and just as strong as me. On the defensive side, I can guard almost any position and my specialty is shot blocks and rebounds.
Q: What do you like most about your game?
A. My Size. I’m around 6’6 so for someone my size I’m kind of an ‘undersized’ big man. I feel like that because I’m built like a football player it allows me to compete and go at a lot of other big guys. I’ve played against a lot of the best centers and forwards in the country and in my grade and I’ve played really well all of those games. I feel like my size really helps me compete at a high level.
Q: What do you think you still need to work on?
A. My confidence. And on the court, I need to work on the moves that I spend a lot of time
practicing. Also, I need to work on continuing to become a leader on the court. I feel like I’m a
pretty good leader off the court when it comes to my team, but on the court, I need to learn how to be more encouraging to my teammates and knowing the right thing to do in certain situations on the court. And of course, I’m always working on my game trying to get better at ball handling and shooting.
Q: Do you have anybody that you patterned your game after or compare your game to?
A. There are 2 guys. The first Draymond Green. I’ve been told numerous times I play a lot like him because I feel like I don’t have to be the star of whatever team I play for and as far as points go I don’t have to score a lot of points to have a big effect on the game which is how he plays. He’s everywhere he’s one of those guys who will dive on the floor like 7 times in a row and lead the game and get the dub. As many rebounds he has is how many bruises he’ll have on his arms. The other guy got drafted by the Celtics who went to the University of
Tennessee named Grant Williams and I play just like him. People jokingly say he’s my ‘twin’
because we’re about the same size and height and our game is super similar.
Q: Would you say you’re a coachable player?
A. Yes definitely.
Q: What makes you coachable?
A. I am a good listener and I ask a lot of questions that will help me understand things so I can
apply it when the game time comes. I’d rather mess up in practice a hundred times and make a mistake in a game four times.
Q: What motivates you in basketball?
A. My family is a big part. I come from a family of forwards on my mom’s side. Basketball has been in my DNA. Also, my Uncle who was a legendary coach in Lithonia, GA, and I played soccer before I got into basketball and he passed away when I first started getting into basketball and now I’m super passionate about it and he’s not here to coach me or anything but he’s a big reason why I play. Also who I am, motivates me. I’m a natural competitor. Also, being a black man in American there’s a stigma that black men can only be athletes or rappers but I want to go as far as I can with my athletic ability so when I get to the top I can help out the world as far as racial reconciliation because I’m a big social activist.
Q: Do you like or love basketball?
A. I love it!
A. It has done so much for me. It’s something peaceful that I can look forward to if I’m ever upset. I really enjoy playing the game and there are so many reasons why I enjoy playing the game. Basketball also can take you so many places as far as traveling goes too. I hope to travel the world one day because of basketball but I’ve been to various parts of the country because of basketball and I’ve also met so many people playing the game.
Q: Has there been any adversity that you've faced on or off the court?
A. Definitely some off the court but on the court my Sophomore year I didn’t get to play over half the season because I broke my foot and I opted to not get surgery because I thought I’d be able to come back in time for the playoffs and I ended up breaking it again so I missed all of Sophomore year AAU season so that’s like a year and a half off of basketball so it took a toll not only on my recruitment but just my confidence as well because I got to watch all of my friends recruitment and everything and I couldn’t do anything but sit in my bed and do my ankle exercises to try and get the feeling back in my foot. It was really hard and emotional but it did kindle this fire in me that I let loose my Junior year so now I’m picking up steam.
Q: What makes you tick, like is there anything that bothers you?
A. People talking trash who can’t back it up. If you talk trash and can back it up I’ll have
respect for you but people who doubt me and hate on me and don’t want to back it up and I try to go hard as I can at those people on the court. Haters are my motivators.
Q: You guys won a State Championship last year, what are your goals for next season and moving forward after high school?
A. As far as senior year, the same thing we’re trying to win State again. We now have a target on our backs not only because we won a State Championship but because I’m on the rise and we’ve got a Junior on the rise and another Senior on the rise and an athlete who’s already going to a High Major school so there’s a target on our backs as far as people wanting to knock us down in the State and we want to prove all the naysayers wrong and win again and get a ring. Then after high school, I want to go to college for free and hopefully go pro to the NBA or overseas, whatever God has planned for me, and keep working hard every day.
Q: What are the schools that have offered you?
A. I have an offer from Siena College in New York, College of Charleston, Prairie View A&M
University in Texas, The United States Naval Academy, and Winthrop University.
Q: What are you looking for in a program?
A. First the distance from home. I want it to be affordable for my parents to and visit and come to as many home games as possible. With the coaching staff, I’m not going one and done so I want a good relationship with the coaching staff if I’m going to be there for 2 or possibly 3 years. Also just the vibe I get from the school itself and academics play a big part in how I fit into their basketball program and I’m going to shy away from schools I just don’t fit in with.
Q: Do you care if it’s High, Mid, or Low Major?
A. I hold myself to a high standard so I’m always aiming for High Major. All of my offers right now are Mid Major and some are in between Mid and High Major. But anywhere I can go and get a good education that’s paid for and allows me to pursue my basketball career that’s good with me. But as I said I hold myself to a high standard and I’m trying to find the college that fits me best.
Q: What are your grades like?
A. I go to Pace which is one of the hardest academic schools in the but I have overall a 3.7 or 3.8 GPA.
Q: Have you taken the SAT or ACT yet?
A. I haven’t taken the SAT or ACT yet because of the pandemic.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A. In 5 years if everything goes according to my plan I will have spent 2 years in college and it will have been my 2 nd year playing professional basketball in the NBA. I would have just finished my rookie season and would be working hard and doing what I can to help my team so we can get a ring and also make money because money is good!
Q: Last question, would you rather hit a game-winning shot at home or on the road and tell me why?
A. I would say on the road because when we’re at home there’s a close game there’s something about that which will make me upset because it’s like “I have the home-court advantage there should be no reason why I’m not blowing you out on the court that I practice on every day.” But when you’re at an away game there are more naysayers in the crowd and looking and seeing the people who talk trash and the team in their gym it’s a better feeling when you go into someone else’s gym and hit a buzzer-beater.
In conclusion, we would like to thank Cole for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions. We look forward to seeing his continued growth as a basketball player over the rest of the basketball season. We encourage him to stay focused on his goals and to keep the same mentality that has gotten him this far, keep your circle tight, and when you step in-between the lines make sure they remember your name!
Until next time...