Dayton, Tenn. – All-Time leading scorer and rebounder in Bryan Basketball history, Bryan Lions senior center Brandon Cole (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) has been selected as the 2015-16 Academic All-America® College Division Men's Basketball Player of the Year, as the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced the College Division Team Monday.
The CoSIDA Academic All-America® College Division basketball teams include student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian, and two-year institutions.
The Appalachian Athletic Conference fully represented the College Division as fellow AAC School, Union College (Ky.), took the honors on the women's side with Lady Bulldogs standout Lydia Nash receiving the CoSIDA Academic All-America® College Division Women's Basketball Player of the Year Award.
This is the first time any Bryan College student-athlete has been named Player of the Year by CoSIDA.
Hailing from Crossville, Tenn., Cole not only carries an impressive 3.83 G.P.A while majoring in exercise health science, but also has made history on Bryan Hill as the Lions' all-time leading scorer and rebounder. During his four years he has compiled 2,799 points, 1,235 rebounds, 142 steals, 110 assists, and a remarkable 53.4 shooting percentage (991-for-1,857).
Standing at 6'2" as a true center, Cole's growth as a player has been amazing despite his physical limitations. He averaged 13 points a game as a freshman and was named Freshman of the Year in the AAC; then 26 points per game as a sophomore, and then nearly 30 points per game as a junior. His freshman year he shot 62 percent from the free throw line, and during his junior year he went 243-for-319, over 76 percent.
During his junior year, he was recognized as a 2014-15 NAIA Div. II Men's Basketball All-American. Cole went on to receive AAC Player of the Year, leading the AAC and NAIA Div. II in scoring and rebounding as he averaged 29.14 points and 11.32 rebounds per game. His 816 total points ranked him second nationally as did his 317 total rebounds. He scored a season-high 51 points against St. Catharine (Ky.), making him one of only two players in the nation to net 50 or more points in a game last season.
This year, Cole's efforts gave way to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association recognizing him as the TSWA Men's Basketball Player of the Week. He also made the cut for the Clarence "Bevo" Francis Award Top 100 Watch List put on by Small College Basketball, which is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball (NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, USCAA, and NCCAA). He raked in All-Conference First Team honors and was Bryan's representative to the AAC Champions of Character Team this season.
Cole finished up regular season action this year leading both the conference and nation in a myriad of stats. He ranks No. 1 in NAIA Div. II in points per game (29.1), No. 1 in total scoring (815), No. 2 in offensive rebounds per game (3.92), No. 5 in total rebounds per game (10.92), No. 5 in total rebounds (306), No. 12 in defensive rebounds per game (7.0), and ended as No. 31 in field goal percentage after shooting 54.8 percent. He concluded the season with an AAC-leading 16 double-doubles.
Career at a glance… Cole has been three-time first-team All-AAC, 10-time conference player of the week, conference freshman of the year, honorable-mention NAIA Division II All-American as a sophomore and league player of the year and third-team All-American as a junior.
"This award Brandon has won could not be more deserved," remarked Head Bryan Men's Basketball Coach, Don Rekoske. "On the court he has led the nation in scoring and rebounding twice. He has an extraordinary 3.83 G.P.A and to do that well in both the classroom and hardwood to receive this incredible honor is nothing less than impressive. But what truly sets Brandon apart is his character. He is humble, coachable, and a great teammate. He is a once in a lifetime young man, and I thank him for how he has represented this school and the Lord most importantly."
To view the full Academic All-America® Team, click here.