Jalen Coleman: Evaluation

Ace shooters always hold a revered place in the minds of college coaches, and their relative scarcity in the Class of 2015 has catapulted Jalen Coleman into even loftier esteem.

Introduction

Here we have a player who shot 122 threes in 21 games, connecting at a 47 percent clip, and attempted two and half times more threes than he did free throws. Yep, that's a specialist.

Way back in January, 2012, colleague Brian Snow dubbed Coleman "the top freshman in the state of Indiana." Based on Coleman's play at the Flyin' To The Hoop that year, for example, the young guard stated that case emphatically upon entering the high school ranks.

He hasn't slowed down since, and during the 2014 travel season he earned an invitation to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, while also touring with All-Ohio Red on the EYBL circuit. No one can dispute that Coleman has challenged himself versus the nation's stoutest competition, and his talents project very well for the college level.

Assets

Coleman unapologetically specializes in one area: long-range shooting. The slender guard arguably is the best pure shooter in the senior class, swishing three after three from all areas of the court. He plunges the net whether he's in a high school, AAU or camp setting, because a player with that degree of touch can transcend his competitive environment.

His numbers are easiest to track from the EYBL circuit, where he performed with All-Ohio Red. That's where I pulled the above data, and Coleman actually shot an astounding 50 percent (46-92) through the EYBL's 16-game regular season. He cooled off a hair at the Peach Jam, but even there he knocked in 37 percent on threes in five games.

Coleman plays with confidence and poise

Coleman has almost no noise in his shot. He releases his guide hand earlier than a lot of jump shooters, eliminating a variable that can negatively impact a shooter's release. He powers through the release with quick, yet full extension and confidently fills up the net even when defenders close out against him aggressively.

It's one thing to have a good weekend, but even after multiple events and games on the EYBL circuit, defenders aware of his reputation still struggled to contain him. Now, just imagine what he might do in a structured college setting with organized, hard off-ball screens. He'll be an immediate weapon and one who likely will pay dividends for a full four seasons.

Deficits

A lack of strength stands out most. Coleman can get beaten up pretty badly when matched against a strong opponent, particularly on defense. If any aspect of his game causes him to get out of the gate slowly in college, his body likely will be it. He should be able to address his physique over time, but even then (barring a late growth spurt) he'll never be particularly tall (6-4, at most) or long.

As a specialist, he also doesn't contribute as much driving or playmaking. Coleman is a shooter, first, second and third, though in fairness he's also a heady passer and has been taught to the play the game in a way that's team-oriented. This isn't the oblivious hooper who only wants to shoot; it's simply what he does best.

Outlook

In many cases a designated jump shooter will struggle making the adjustment from high school to the rigors of college basketball, but I worry far less about that with Coleman I do with others. He's a great shooter with a quick release and mechanics befitting a big-time collegiate shooter, and he possesses a clear grasp of his own strengths and limitations.

Along with the know-how to succeed in a team game, I expect him to contribute and blossom over time into a potential impact, even all-league player for the school of his choice.


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