Right now, I’m staying in a hotel in Tulsa. It’s actually a really nice hotel. It’s not home, but it’s my temporary home for another four or five days. The other guys on the team share apartments with roommates – two guys per place. I’m the only one in the hotel, and they haven’t seen it yet. They’d probably be a little jealous. It’s actually a suite, so it’s like a one-bedroom apartment. I have a kitchen with a stove, refrigerator and all that. But for Thanksgiving, I went over to our coach’s house (Nate Tibbetts) and had a nice meal. You know, turkey, stuffing and all the good stuff.
Even though I’m away from the team, I still talk to a lot of guys on the team. I talked to Kevin [Durant] for 20-30 minutes the other day, as well as Royal, Mo Pete and Byron [Mullens]. As I’ve said before, everybody’s really friendly, but Kevin always looks out for me. It’s tough missing the games. I watched the game last night on TV in Tulsa. You gotta watch the games to see what the team’s doing defensively and offensively. I’ve been cheering hard for the guys and want us to win every game. It’s hard not being there, so I’ve been working my butt off here.
In practice, we do all the same stuff and run most of the same plays. It’s real similar. The biggest difference is that the locker room showers are cold! Other than that, the locker room is not quite as spacious and the floor’s a little dirty. It’s all about going back to the basics. For example, we get about 18,000 people on average in Oklahoma City. In Tulsa we’ve had maybe 500 per game – and that’s probably being generous. We sold out every game at KU, so I haven’t had a game with that few fans for a number of years… probably since my sophomore year of high school.
For anyone that’s ever played in the NBA and the D-League, they know that there’s definitely a difference. One of them is that you can swipe the ball off the rim and it’s not goaltending. I saw one or two guys do that in my first game, and then I figured out it’s a rule. Also, you get called for some things that you don’t get called for in the League. (Ed. note: Cole had 11 fouls in his first two games.) Maybe you get anticipated for a call when you actually don’t foul a guy, or other situations where you just play through in the League.
When we played the Iowa Energy, it was nice to see fellow rookie Gani Lawal and Connor Atchley. I really like Gani. Him and I had a number of battles throughout our high school career, and he’s a good friend of mine. It’s nice going up against a guy like that. Like me, he has to continue to learn and get better. As for Connor, it was cool. I talked to him a tiny bit just before tip-off. We kind of had a rivalry throughout college.
Someone asked me the other day who the best prospect on the team is. That’s tough. We’ve got a few guys that are really good. Probably one of my personal favorites is Ryan Reid, a big guy from Florida State that really works hard. He works hard in practice and every possession in the game. We also have Latavious Williams. Right now he has a minor injury and is trying to get healthy. He’s a good player, and will really help the 66ers this year.
Until next time…
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