Cole was set to go to Walsh University on a football scholarship when Cleveland State basketball coach Gary Waters decided to recruit him. On December 15, 2008, he helped lead Cleveland State to their biggest regular season victory in school history, upsetting the #11 Syracuse Orange, 72–69. It was CSU's third-ever win over a Top 25 ranked opponent, and first ever on the road. They would pick up their fourth and fifth wins over Top 25 opponents later that same season when they won at #17 Butler in the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament 57–54, and then in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament when, as the 13th seeded team in the Midwest bracket, they routed 4th seeded and #12 Wake Forest by a final score of 84–69. 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.