After being a role player for much of his time with Howard Payne University, senior guard Shadd Cole outpaces his nearest teammate by 21 points for team lead in points scored.

Cole netted a career-high 21 points in the Howard Payne’s second game of the season and has routinely finished among the leading scorers in each since then with 50 total points after only four games.

“It’s exciting and something I felt I was capable of in the past, but wasn’t able to do for some reason,” Cole said. “It’s been exciting to get off to a hot start. [Austin College] was one of those games where we hurt ourselves. We were in foul trouble a lot of the game and had a lot of turnovers and offensive rebounds. If you look at the stat sheet, it looks like we should have won the game except for offensive rebounds and turnovers. They were able to shoot 10 or 15 more shots than us so it’s just the little things.”

Cole came to Brownwood following a successful career at Stephenville Faith and during his three years saw limited action his freshman season, averaged 5.6 points per game as a sophomore and 7.6 as a junior. As a senior he has more than doubled that with 17 points per game and attributes his success to the players around him.

“I was more of a role player. Last year, we had Khyce [Randall] and he was one of the best players to come through here. He carried a lot of the load and we helped him out as we could,” Cole said. “[This year] is definitely something different, but I think it’s something I’m capable of. We definitely have a lot of other good players and a lot of returners that help with that as well. Obviously, we’re not going to replace someone like Khyce. It’s a group effort, that’s for sure.”

Cole attributed his turnaround season to conditioning and playing alongside players out of Tarleton State University, where his father Rod Cole works as assistant director of athletic performance.

“I’ve been working out on my own, both in the gym and in the weight room,” Cole said. “Also, I’ve been playing in as many open gyms as I can. My dad is a strength coach at Tarleton State so I get a chance to play with some of those guys. It really helps to play with players as talented and athletic as them … The more you experience certain things the fewer times something comes as a surprise.”

The Yellow Jackets currently sit at 0-3, but Cole does not think that will last long. With much of the 2017-2018 roster returning for 2018-2019, Cole believes his team can make a run at the conference tournament and possibly earn a bid to the DIII national tournament.

“Obviously, we want to get back to the conference tournament,” Cole said. “Last year was our first time there, but we would like to get a win and try to get a bid in the national tournament. Those are the main team goals we have set.”