Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
On the eve of the AAU 17U Nationals in Orlando, Fla., DaJuan Coleman and his Albany City Rocks teammates weren’t cooped up in a condo in Florida.
No, City Rocks coach Jim Hart took them in an air-conditioned van to see the Tigers play the Rays at Tropicana Field.
When the City Rocks take the floor for their first game at 10:40 Tuesday morning, you can rest assured he will draw a big crowd of high-profile college coaches.
The 6-foot-10, 280-pound Coleman says his list includes Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Louisville, UConn, Florida and North Carolina.”
“I’m wide open,” he said by phone.
Coleman is part of a trio of talented big men in the Class of 2012. Andre Drummond, Isaiah Austin and Coleman make up the Nos. 1-2-3 players in the Rivals rankings.
“The amazing thing about him is for his size and his strength, he’s very light on his feet,” Hart said. “He’s got incredibly good footwork. I have not really seen a big guy be able to move his feet like that in the post.
“People think he can just go through people, which he can but he’s pretty clever and crafty about doing a half-pivot and then he can spin by you and lay it up soft. If he misses he can get his town tip-in.”
Coleman is dominant on the offensive end and still learning his way defensively.
“On the defensive end, when he wants to he can be a force,” Hart said. “He’s gotta know when to help and when to stay on his man. He’s dominant in the low post. He also hit a couple of face-up jumpers from 15 feet.”
Coleman sprained his ankle at the Hoop Group Elite Camp and missed the Peach Jam but says he’s feeling fine now.
“I had sprained my ankle about two weeks ago,” he said. “It’s OK.”
Coleman has been invited to play in the adidas Global Experience in Chicago Aug. 6-9 and the Nike Global Challenge Aug. 6-8 in Hillsboro, Ore.
As for colleges, many observers expect Coleman could land at Syracuse because he attends nearby Jamesville-Dewitt High, which also produced current Orange guard Brandon Triche.
“Syracuseis familiar to him, of course,” Hart said.
Still, the coach added, “I believe he’s definitely wide open. It’s so early in the process.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.