Wright State junior and former Holt standout Cole Darling has seen time at three different positions in his college career, but his versatility has led him to become an offensive weapon.
Going into Saturday’s Horizon League showdown with Valparaiso, Darling was second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.7 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounding and averages just over 23 minutes per game.
As a sophomore last season, Darling played in 30 games while starting 20 for the Raiders, but he has improved this season to help Wright State to the first place spot in the Horizon League currently.
“I worked hard and I expect to play well. The main thing is just having confidence and just knowing you can go out and do it,” Darling said. “Early on in the season I feel like I did have that kind of confidence.”
Darling has scored at least 18 points in three games this season, including an 18-point effort in the very first game of the season against Idaho.
His best effort came against Morehead State in early December, when he made 10 field goals and poured in 29 points.
Darling mainly plays the power forward spot, but will play some center and has also been plugged in as a wing in certain situations.
“I mostly have played the power forward position. A couple times I’ve moved to the five, especially with some of the smaller lineups that we play and with the wing spot, it’s kind of new for me but I fit into it pretty well,” Darling said.
The ability to play multiple positions has made the 6-foot-8 Darling a mainstay in the Raiders’ rotation.
“Coach Donlon has asked me to play different positions, so I’m working a lot on that. It has been a little hard to do but I’m getting better at it,” Darling said. “If I’m needed for the five I can do that and if they need me to play the three, there are some smaller three men out there that I have no problem with.”
Billy Donlon was not the head coach that Darling pledged his commitment to. Darling had committed to Wright when former coach Brad Brownell was with the Raiders.
Then, Brownell left to take the coaching job at Clemson. Donlon was promoted to head coach after serving as an assistant under Brownell.
“A couple months before I visited he went to Clemson. I still liked the environment and the coaching staff, so I decided to stay,” Darling said.
Darling knew Wright was the place for him on his visit to the Dayton-area campus. His comfort with the school, the staff and the roster helped forge the compatibility and confidence he’s using to excel on the court now.
“They were one of the first schools to recruit me and everything. A lot of the Horizon League schools were looking at me. I came on a visit and played with the guys during an open gym and I felt at home,” Darling said. “They have a great campus, great academics and I was able to really fit in.”