MBB : Homeschooling: Jamesville-DeWitt’s Coleman chooses Syracuse to stay close to his roots

first_imgDEWITT — For just a half-second, it seemed that Syracuse was going to lose a top recruit right from its own backyard.With Kentucky, Syracuse and Ohio State hats in front of him at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, DaJuan Coleman, Scout.com’s No. 6 center in the Class of 2012, reached at first for the black Kentucky snapback hat with a royal blue brim.‘And the school I will be attending this fall will be,’ Coleman said as everyone in the audience went silent but looked ready to explode into cheers.But his hand stopped just inches above the Kentucky hat and shifted one hat over. He grabbed the navy blue Syracuse hat with an orange brim and put it on his head, indicating his verbal commitment to SU. What seemed like the entire J-D High School student body erupted into a loud cheer that turned into a ‘Let’s go Orange’ chant.Just like that, Syracuse held on to the 6-foot-8, 280-pound recruit that grew up just minutes away from the university. Coleman has been a top recruit in his class since the eighth grade and has helped lead Jamesville-DeWitt to three of its four straight New York State Class A championships entering this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd on Tuesday, he announced that he would be bringing his talents the short drive to SU’s campus.‘The biggest factor was just being home,’ Coleman said. ‘The support, I built a big relationship with the (Syracuse) coaching staff and just being home.’The only people that knew where the massive high school senior was going prior to Tuesday were his siblings and parents. Coleman said he made the decision about a month ago, but that didn’t stop him from being extremely anxious before the announcement.His teammate, Pete Drescher, said just moments before the center walked up to the podium that it was the most nervous he had ever seen Coleman. And Coleman said the only time he ever felt more anxiety was playing in the state championship games. Even then, it was only when those games were close.‘He’s been nervous and a little crankier than usual,’ Coleman’s mother, Tyris, said. ‘That was to be expected. He was under pressure. It was overwhelming for him. And I could tell in his personality the way that he was feeling.’Coleman still made his official visit to Kentucky nearly two weeks ago despite having his mind made up well before that. He made his official visit to SU last weekend and that sealed the deal.He said Orange senior point guard Scoop Jardine explained that even though he was from Philadelphia, he feels at home in Syracuse. And that alone had a big influence on Coleman.‘It was basically a family up there,’ he said. ‘A lot of coaches said their program is about family. But you don’t really know until you get there. I definitely felt like it was a family last weekend.’When Coleman joins the Orange next fall, he will enter a potentially crowded SU frontcourt. The J-D star said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has told him he could play either the center or power forward position when he joins the team. But sophomore centers Baye-Moussa Keita and Fab Melo are both likely to return next season, as is 6-foot-9 freshman forward Rakeem Christmas.But regardless what position he plays or how crowded the Orange frontcourt is, Jamesville-DeWitt head coach Bob McKenney doesn’t see that as an issue for his big man. He said Coleman’s offensive skill set may be a little better than that of Keita and Melo and that should help Coleman overcome the advantage those two have in experience.‘I think he’ll step in, and he’s going to be an impact player,’ McKenney said. ‘He would have been at any of the three schools. He’ll step in and help Syracuse right away.’For McKenney, the decision is even more exciting because he is also Syracuse fan.But for Coleman, being an Orange fan had no effect on what college he chose. The key factor was family.Most of his family is from the area. His mom said it meant a lot to be able to watch over him at school and go to his games. His brother, Dashawn, said it would be just like going to J-D all over again.And for Coleman, that gave Syracuse the extra edge over Kentucky and Ohio State.‘I think it’s very important just for the support,’ he said. ‘Support can go a long way. Here at Syracuse, I think I’ll do good.’[email protected] Comments Published on October 24, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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