Born one minute apart on Sept. 6, 1981, in Port Arthur, Texas, 150 miles south of Huntsville, two brothers, Donald Ray Cole and Donovan Ray Cole, would soon grow to be already successful young men.
While Sam Houston State identifies one of the Cole brothers as the dashing, “smooth” inside scorer for the men’s basketball team, no one seems to know his fraternal twin brother, Donovan.
The Cole brothers may not be carbon copies of each other, but they can and have been easily mistaken as the same person. Both Donovan and Donald want to prove to SHSU that they are both very different.
“It bothers me so much that people associate me as, ‘Donald’s brother,'” said Donovan. “I am my own person. I am not him. I wish people knew me for me.”
Standing at 6’4″, Donovan, or Lil’ Smooth, as some like to call him, is a computer science major with a minor in computer technology with aspirations to become a computer analyst.
On the other hand, Donald who is a 6’8″ forward is a kinesiology major with a minor in health, who dreams to one day play for the NBA.
Obviously, the big difference between the two brothers is that Donovan doesn’t play basketball.
“I’m not dedicated to basketball like my brother is. Basketball is just my hobby–I play for fun…to kill time. I mean I guess I could play if I really wanted to, but honestly, I’d rather dedicate my time to playing baseball–that’s my love. I would have liked to play for Sam Houston, but when I transferred from Navarro, I didn’t want to sit out for a whole year,” Donovan said.
“I started playing baseball when I was like 10 years old or so,” he said. “When I was 13 or 14, I hit a homerun to win this playoff game. They gave me the ball, and I just felt real special.”
While Donovan only plays basketball for fun, Donald sometimes wishes that the two could have played on the same team.
“At Navarro I encouraged him to try out, but he didn’t. I always dreamed that the two of us would play together for the same team,” Donald said.
In addition to the disappointment of not playing basketball side-by-side with his brother, Donald has also overcome greater challenges, such as becoming the player that other teams want to gang up on. Instead of just focusing on maybe getting scouted by the NBA, he also has to focus on the team and helping the Bearkats win a championship.
Donald, or “Smooth” as other members of the basketball team and courtside fans call him, acquired the name in junior college, when one of his teammates from New York nicknamed him because of the ‘smooth’ way he played.
Donald portrays his strengths as being confident. Confident in his game? Maybe.
“I’m definitely a noise-talker. I stir up a lot of noise in basketball. I think I’m the biggest trash-talker on the team,” he said, laughing.
Besides both liking rap and the color blue, Donald and Donovan’s weaknesses are the same.
“Women! That’s all I can say. My focus goes straight downhill when I think about them,” Donald said. “And it’s even harder to keep a relationship with one when I play basketball. Women can be jealous sometimes and that makes a commitment really stressful.”
Donovan agreed, and laughed when he said, “Women are so scandalous and conniving.”
So, are there times when Donald just doesn’t care about basketball or school? No, not really, but as Donovan likes to say, “I don’t think he minds me kicking his butt when we play pool together either.”
Donald begs to differ.
“My brother and I are really competitive. We challenge each other all the time,” he said. “And yes, I beat my brother at pool.”
In addition to beating each other at the game of pool, challenging each other is one of their many pranks.
“Once, I challenged Donald to drink a whole bottle of Bacardi Rum at a bar one night. Man, he paid for the consequences really good,” Donovan said, laughing.
What is their relationship like?
“It’s definitely interesting,” Donald said. “When we used to live together, we would fight every day. It started becoming repetitive. Everyday, we would fight about something new, who would get in the shower first, who would cook, clean…anything you could think of. Now that we don’t live together, everything is really cool.”
Donovan agreed with the new arrangement.
“We’re really close and we talk about everything. He’s my best friend,” he said.
Both of the Cole brothers describe themselves as intelligent and funny, but when it comes to different personalities, Donald is the calm one and Donovan is the short-tempered one. Donovan’s role model is Chris Tucker, because of his “just don’t give a damn” personality.
Donald, however, curves his role model towards his dad, and says that his father always worked his hardest to get where he needed to be, and he taught Donald the same necessities.
“My dad pushed me a lot. Everyday, he would criticize me, telling me what I was doing wrong–his words made me push harder and I think that’s why I’ve stayed in the game so long,” he said.
The hard work Donald puts into the sport, earned him his most memorable basketball moment his senior year in high school.
“I hit a half-court shot at the buzzer and scored 30 points that night,” he said.
Besides dreams and aspirations, Donald and Donovan both see themselves in opportune positions in five to 10 years. If Donald doesn’t make it to the NBA, he said he wouldn’t mind being an architect, but probably sees himself as a high school basketball coach.
Donovan on the other hand, wouldn’t mind becoming a veterinarian, because he loves animals so much, but also wouldn’t mind playing basketball overseas.
What do the Cole brothers want Sam Houston to know about them?
“I’m really a good guy. If you’re in trouble, I’m really easy to rely on. I’m a person you can trust. Also, I would consider myself to be an inspirational speaker,” Donovan said. Donald has a different aspect.
“I want people to know that I’m really a nice person, and I like meeting a lot of people,” he said. “I’m real easy to get along with.”
Sidebar: Information on Donovan:First kiss – 13Greatest Fear – SpidersFavorite Color – Royal blueDream Job – NBA playerFavorite Music – Rap
Donovan:First kiss – 15Greatest Fear – Not succeeding in lifeFavorite color – BlueDream Job – VeterinarianFavorite music – Rap