High school and college career
Cole was a star at Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, leading his basketball team to consecutive state championships in his junior and senior years. He was a high school teammate of future NBA player Daequan Cook. (The two later faced each other in the 2012 NBA Finals.)
Cole was set to go to Walsh University on a football scholarship when Cleveland State basketball coach Gary Waters decided to recruit him. His numbers improved over the course of his college basketball career, which culminated in a senior year that saw him average 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game, highlighted by a 41-point, 20-rebound, 9-assist performance against Youngstown State.
Cole was recognized for his accomplishments by being the first person in the Horizon League's men's basketball history to be named both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, earning an AP All-America Honorable Mention, making the USBWA District V team, as well as the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 12 First Team.
He was also a finalist for the Wooden Award and a "Final Five" finalist for the Bob Cousy Award. Cole played 140 career games for Cleveland State, averaging 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 29.4 minutes per game.
Cole was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft as the 28th pick out of Cleveland State, but in a series of draft night deals, his rights were subsequently traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who then dealt him to the Miami Heat.
Cole impressed both his coaches and teammates during training camp, including an impressive outing in the Heat's annual Red & Black Scrimmage, demonstrating poise, confidence, and blazing speed in a 21 point and 4 assist performance. After a solid preseason when he averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 assists, he impressed a nationwide audience in the Heat's home opener against the Boston Celtics by scoring 14 points in the 4th quarter (making many crucial shots in the closing minutes) to secure a Heat victory in the face of a Celtic's comeback attempt. Cole finished that game with a total of 20 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. He became the 4th fastest rookie in Heat franchise history to score at least 20 points in a game.
Cole was originally left out of the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge, but due to the rising stardom of Jeremy Lin, who was added late to the group, Cole was selected as the 20th rookie in order to even out the competition. He tallied 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals in the game.
Cole finished the 2011-2012 season averaging 6.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assist on 39% shooting. He made two big 3 pointers in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals which would spark a comeback run. Cole won his first championship in his rookie season after the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1.
Cole was ejected from Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals by referee Ken Mauer after a shoving match with Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Pendergraph, who was also ejected late in the fourth quarter during a 26 point Miami Heat lead.
Cole won his second championship on June 20, 2013, when the Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in an intense seven game series.