Pitino moves on 5-Star 2010 wing prospect

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that his program has 'to come up with a [big-time] wing player for next year.' That's why the Cardinals made a move last week to get in the sweepstakes for Justin Coleman, a five-star 2010 small forward blessed with explosive athleticism..

Rick Pitino needs to find an explosive wing player with world-class athleticism, a quick first step and jaw-dropping leaping ability.

Last week, the Cardinals made a move to get into the mix with Justin Coleman, a five-star small forward from Huntington (WV) Prep who is considered one of the nation's most athletic wing prospects.

"It's sort of a fresh situation between Louisville and Justin," said Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford. "I've talked to Coach [Walter] McCarty a couple times in reference to Justin. We play Findlay (NV) Prep on Jan. 8 and I think they're going to try to come down for the game."

Louisville has had discussions with Coleman and Fulton about getting the 6'5, 190-pound foward up to Louisville for an unofficial visit in January.

"It's in the works," Fulford said. "And not only to Louisville. It's going to be a process. He's probably going to take some official visits once he takes the [SAT] test [January 23rd]. I don't think he's going to make a decision any time soon."

Coleman, the No. 4 small forward in the Class of 2010, was one of the top prospects at the NBA Top 100 Camp this summer.


Coleman is a five-star small forward prospect.
"I know [Louisville] is trying to get him to come up for an unofficial visit," Fulford said. "I know they're interested and I think he is interested. It would be a good fit. His recruiting is picking up. It's going to come down to fit and comfort-level. It'll be a niche with somebody that has a need at his position and he'll want to go in and play."

Louisville definitely has a need at small forward. In fact, Rick Pitino mentioned Tuesday during his pregame press conference for tomorrow's contest against Oral Roberts that "we have to come up with a wing player for next year." If Coleman is looking for starters minutes as a freshman, it appears Louisville will have them available next season.

"They definitely have a need at his position," Fulford said. "Justin is an NBA-level player. He's got to figure it out on defense but from an offensive skill-set standpoint he's potentially an NBA player that could play a long time in that league."

Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas and Marquette are also involved with Coleman. He verbally committed to Marquette but decided to re-open his recruitment.

"He's got a laundry list of schools interested," Fulton said. "Everybody is trying to determine if they're comfortable with his grades. A lot of coaches are waiting on his first SAT score and he's going to have to attend summer school."

An accomplished scorer, Coleman averaged 23 points and 13 rebounds as a junior.

"He's not a pure small forward. He's in between a two and a three. He can do both," said Fulford. "He can handle and shoot. He's more comfortable attacking the basket and scoring off offensive rebounds. He has the skills to play the two, though."

"He's coachable and improving all facets of his game and he's very eager to be good," added Fulford.

Coleman is also working hard to improve his standing in the classroom.

"He's doing well with class, the issue with Justin is he's just been pushed through the system in public school," Fulford said. "But he realizes he doesn't want to go to junior college or another year of prep school so he's buckled down and is taking it seriously. There's been a change in his focus since he got here. I think he'll get it done. He's on target with his core classes. It's going to come down to GPA and test scores."

Coleman has often drawn comparisons to the NBA's Denver Nuggets small forward Von Wafer.

"He's a good kid," Fulford said. "He's been guided in the wrong direction in the past. Now he's surround with the right people. His AAU coach is a great guy and his parents are involved now."


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