Men’s basketball welcomes Brown; Cola

Andreas Brown

CWU Athletics

Andreas Brown

Jack Belcher, Staff Reporter

When the Wildcats take the court this year, expect to see a few fresh faces on the men’s team. Malcolm Cola and Andreas Brown are two of the newest additions to the program having joined the team in April.

Both Cola and Brown have been playing basketball since they were young. Cola started playing basketball in a rec league when he was in third grade. Brown got his start playing with his brother when he was younger.

Meet Malcolm Cola

CWU Athletics
Malcolm Cola

“I couldn’t choose between football and basketball, then high school came…  I just felt like I got to go all in at basketball,” Cola said. “I loved it so much…  I had a real passion for it.”

During high school, Cola received his AA degree through Running Start, a program that allows high school students to take classes at a college to obtain credit for both simultaneously.

The 6’6”  forward and center averaged 19.5 points per game and set a 2015 record for blocks in a game with 13 in high school.

When it came to recruiting, head coach Greg Sparling described Cola as being “under the radar” due to an injury during his junior year.

The Wildcats also reminded him of his former team at Federal Way High School, where he was part of the team with the longest winning streak in the US at 63 games.

“People always ask if there was a lot of pressure on us every game, but it wasn’t like that,” Cola said. “We just played like they were regular games… we didn’t know the exact number of our streak. We didn’t think about it.”

Bringing in Brown

CWU Athletics
Andreas Brown

“There is so much about basketball that other people that don’t know,” Brown said. “When I’m out there it’s like nothing else really matters.”

Brown says he chose to come here because he felt like CWU had everything that he was looking for. He also mentioned that the town itself wasn’t too big or too small.

“It just felt right after meeting the coaches and meeting the players,” Brown said.

Assistant coach Jared Johnson had also known the Brown family for a long time and they have kept their eyes on Brown for a few years now.

In high school, Brown was had an average of 12.7 points per game, with 6 rebounds and over 6 assists. The 6’4” guard from Shadle Park High School was the 3A Washington State Assist Leader, with a total of 67 assists during his senior year.

Welcome to the team

Sparling is glad to have the two new freshmen on the team because they both bring something new to the table.

“Malcolm is a heck of a shot blocker, guy that can score around the basket real long. He just gets better and better,” Sparling said “Andreas is… a bigger point guard. He knows the game.”

Teammates Jawan Stepney and Fuquan Niles, who are both seniors this year agree.

“They know what they’re doing and they are following the examples of their leaders,” Stephney said. “Malcolm brings in the energy, offensive rebounds, extra possessions. Andreas brings in that poise that we needed and the stick-to-itiveness that we have.”

Niles knows through the experience he has had with Cola that he is someone who soaks up everything that he can and that he listens to veterans like himself.

“Like, during practice,” Niles said, “[Cola] might not know how or what kind of position to be in or where his footing needs to be at, so I show him because I know how to do it… then, once he learns it he becomes better at it.”

Cola is already forming the bonds that many college athletes form as they play, practice and travel more with their teammates.

“It is like a family, so there might be some bickering here and there, but at the end of the day we are all in it, and pushing each other to get better” Cola said. “I know I’m a little bit shorter than the rest of the bigs, but as long as I just play hard and rebound and block shots I’ll be fine.