By Tyler Olsen, The Times March 8, 2011
As a freshman, Chilliwack's Micah Cockrill was expected to ride the pine for his first year of college basketball with the University of British Columbia--Okanagan Heat.
Instead, Cockrill became an offensive catalyst for the Heat and last week was named to both the British Columbia Colleges' Athletic Association (BCCAA) second-team all-star and the BCCAA's all-rookie team.
It wasn't a perfect week for Cockrill, though, as the Heat's season ended Thursday after a 103-86 quarter-final loss to the Douglas College Royals.
But aside from its end, the six-foot-six Cockrill was delighted with how his rookie season turned out.
"It's gone really well," he told the Times. "Better than I ever could have imagined. Being a rookie you don't expect to have a lot of playing time but this year's been great. I've played a ton of minutes and played a big role on the team."
Those numbers came despite making the difficult jump from high school ball--he starred at G.W. Graham--to the college game, where much more is expected from student athletes.
"It's a lot more intense," he said. Not only are the players stronger and faster, but the coaches are full-time professionals and "most guys are on scholarships so there are expectations that have been put forward."
Despite that, Cockrill has thrived, averaging 13.7 points per game, punctuated by a season-high 28-point outburst against the Douglas College Royals, during which he went a ridiculous eight-for-14 from the three-point line.
Off the court Cockrill is also enjoying life at UBCO's Kelowna campus and taking first-year general studies courses.
Next year, however, will require him to step up his game even further as next year the Heat will move up to play in the tougher Canada West Universities Athletic Association (and in which the University of the Fraser Valley competes).
While Cockrill says the change may be "like another rookie season." But if that "rookie" year is anything like the one he has just finished, Cockrill will be just fine.
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