Dear Cole: An Open Letter From Wake Forest

The number-one high school point guard is considering coming to Wake Forest. Cole Anthony is a gifted athlete with skills we haven’t seen since all-star Kyrie Irving left for Duke University. Could he be the next Wake Forest Basketball legend?

The five-star recruit is a highly-touted prospect turning coaches’ heads. The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, the Portland, Oregon, native grew up in a basketball family. The prodigy attended Archbishop Molloy (NY) High School but bolted to the basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (VA) for his senior year to play under legendary high school coach Steve Smith.

Anthony possesses raw talent and is known for putting in practice time on the court. The 18-year-old flies by defenders easily and powers his way into the lane with his sturdy 6’3″ frame. His high-flying dunks are supported by his massive 43-inch vertical. His ball handling creates confusion for defenders, as he stealthily breaks down opponents on the way to the hoop. Anthony reads the court well to create slick passes and plays for his teammates. In addition, Anthony has a deep shooting range, allowing him to pull the trigger from anywhere.

He has narrowed down his list to five schools in addition to Wake Forest: UNC, Notre Dame, Oregon, Georgetown and Miami. In early January, he visited Winston-Salem. Afterwards, Anthony posted on Instagram a photo of himself during a shootaround at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Anthony commented below the photos that he “loved the Wake Forest visit.”

Let’s see if we can sway Cole to the wear the old gold and black under Coach Danny Manning.

Dear Cole,

I know you have heard thousands of opinions of where you should go to school next year, and it is your decision to make, but hear me out.

Wake Forest wants you. You will be the guy that will restore prominence to this historic program, and you will go down as a legend for it. Unlike other schools where you will be jockeying for attention, Wake Forest will view you as a leader from the get-go. You will step right in as the face of the program: a position that will help you mature and grow as a person and athlete. This position can shape your NBA career.

Take John Collins, for example. From 2015 to 2017, the 6’10″power-forward took responsibility leading the Deacons as soon as he stepped on campus. When he decided to join the Deacons, Wake Forest had not been to March Madness since 2010. However, Collins was determined to be the athlete that turned things around. In 2017, he led the team to a 19-14 record and bid in the tournament. The leadership abilities Collins learned at Wake Forest made him one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft.

Take the challenge of putting Wake Forest back on the map as a gift. Challenges make us push ourselves to places we thought our bodies or minds could never go. Playing against teams like Golden State and players like LeBron James will be hard, but it will seem less so after elevating Wake Forest to new heights.

I hear you keep talking about wanting your school to feel like a big family. With only 5,000 students, Wake Forest makes it easy to forge close bonds with your peers, teachers and coaches.  Athletes aren’t isolated; we all eat together, drink together and play pickup basketball in the gym.

The family vibe does not end there. Our basketball coach Danny Manning was your team USA coach and you are close with current basketball player Isaiah Mucius. Not only will Coach Manning mentor you, but you have an alumni base that includes Chris Paul, Tim Duncan and John Collins to reach out to. Last year, Wake Forest asked Paul to return to campus so he could give a speech to the entire undergraduate population and meet with athletic teams. In Paul’s speech, he illuminated the fact that he learned the values of service and the ability to be a leader from Wake Forest. We love Paul so much that we have a Chris Paul Day on campus. We wear Chris Paul t-shirts and eat Krispy Kreme donuts. How would it feel to have a Cole Anthony Day? We revere our Wake Forest sports legends and you would be no different.

Oh, and I heard your mom does not just want a “basketball school.” Our academics have earned us the #27 US News ranking for being the most outstanding university. And yeah, that’s three spots higher than that light blue school down the road.

Take your time. Any decision you make will be great. However, you would look pretty good in old gold and black. Have fun during your senior year and good luck.

Go Deacs!