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.
NEPTUNE, N.J. – As he ran up and down the court here last week at the Hoop Group Summer Classic, 6-foot-8, 281-pound DaJuan Coleman literally looked like a man among boys.
“[He looked] like everyone would want him on their team,” one Division 1 head coach said. “Like a man child.”
Yet Coleman is only a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Dewitt (NY) Jamesville-Dewitt High School.
He was one of just two players in his class invited to last week’s LeBron James Skills Academy, and he ranks as the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2012.
“I grew about [five] inches in seventh grade, from about 6-2 to about 6-7,” Coleman said. “My doctor said I still got four more inches to go.
Coleman’s parents are only 6-1 and 5-8, respectively, but he adds: “My grandfather [Joe Coleman] was actually 6-7.”
He is also involved in a weight-lifting program called “Strength & Motion” that enabled him to add 25 pounds of muscle in one month.
Coleman had 18 points and 18 rebounds when Jamesville-DeWitt won the New York Class A State Championship Game over Peekskill this past March.
He possesses the shooting touch of a guard yet he is big and strong enough to overpower most defenders in the paint.
Defensively, he owns a huge wingspan but also possesses great lateral quickness, allowing him to move in the paint and deflect and alter shots.
“He’s only going to be a sophomore in high school,” said Earl “Butch” Graves, Coleman’s coach with the Westchester (N.Y.) Hawks AAU program. “He’s got a nice touch to 15 feet. He shoots the ball very well. He’s got good form. He’s strong as a freaking ox. And he rebounds well and he’s also an unselfish player.
“He’s not a head case. He’s a great kid.”
With schools like Syracuse, UConn, Ohio State, Florida, Kansas, Georgetown, LSU, North Carolina and Kentucky already showing him love, it might be easy to get a swelled head.
Syracuse is perceived to be the leader for his services because they are the hometown school. Coleman said he enjoys a strong relationship with head coach Jim Boeheim and associate head coach Mike Hopkins.
Brandon Triche, Coleman’s former teammate at DeWitt, will be a freshman at Syracuse and Coleman said he could imagine himself teaming up with Triche in three years when Triche is a senior.
“It would be nice to reunite with him,” he said. “That’d be good.”
But Coleman said he and his family are trying to keep the recruiting process in perspective.
“We’re keeping it cool though, not letting it get to our heads or nothing,” he said.
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(Photo courtesy syracuse.com)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.