- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

MIAMI (AP) - Norris Cole’s speed stood out to the Miami Heat, so they moved quickly to get him.

Completing a deal that was struck in principle a day earlier, the Heat formally acquired Cole from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday afternoon in exchange for the rights to Croatian guard Bojan Bogdanovic, a second-round pick in the 2014 draft and cash. Cole was drafted 28th overall by the Chicago Bulls, who then sent him to Minnesota.

The Heat simply could have waited with hopes of snaring him at No. 31 _ the pick they used for Bogdanovic _ but feared Cole would already be gone. So the deal was made, and after some logistics involving Minnesota’s trade of Jonny Flynn to Houston were worked out Friday, the NBA signed off on the move.

“I’m just going to be myself,” Cole said. “Stay humble, work hard, earn the respect from the veteran guys there and the coaching staff. That’s the most important thing.”

The Heat had Cole rated as the draft’s 18th-best player, and bypassed several other point guards to get him.

Norris was ahead of all of these guys for us because of a specific skill set that he has,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “He has tremendous speed and tremendous acceleration and great control of the ball while he has that acceleration. … His speed, his acceleration, his ability, I think, to be a game-changer and a pace-changer is what we wanted.”

Cole played his college basketball at Cleveland State, and scored 22 points to lead the Vikings past then-12th-ranked Wake Forest 84-69 in the first round of the 2009 NCAA tournament, on the same court the Heat call home.

It was during that postseason run when Cole began becoming a star for Cleveland State, and he capped his college career by averaging 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists as a senior for a team that finished with a 27-9 record.

“Playing there my sophomore year and winning in the NCAA tournament, it comes around full circle,” Cole said. “It makes that game that much more special.”

Cole was the Horizon League’s player of the year and defensive player of the year, and that more than piqued Miami’s interest. Riley said the team essentially traded up three spots because it did not “want to get left at the altar,” adding that the consensus in the Heat draft room was that Cole was the right fit for the Eastern Conference champions.

“We’re intrigued by a lot of his skills,” Riley said. “Whether or not it works, only time will tell.”

Miami entered the draft without a first-round selection, and resisted the urge to spend $3 million to move into the first round by buying a pick. Making a trade was much simpler for the Heat, and Cole addressed one of the team’s major needs. The Heat do not have a point guard guaranteed for next season, though Mario Chalmers is a restricted free agent, is expected to be Miami’s starter next year and wants to be back.

Riley said Cole worked out about 10 days before the draft and left a major impression.

“This was his audition, this was his job interview, this was his opportunity to get into the NBA and there wasn’t anybody that I think we’ve had in a number of years that took it more seriously and competitively than this guy,” Riley said. “He just dominated the practice with his effort, his hustle, his conditioning, his quickness.”

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Cole said he can’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed by the chance to play with LeBron James _ whose arrival in Miami from Cleveland generated slightly more fanfare than Cole’s will _ and Dwyane Wade next season.

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