Coleman to continue career overseas

Former University of Memphis forward Will Coleman signed a one-year deal Wednesday with French club Le Mans and will leave for France on the 21st.

Former University of Memphis forward Will Coleman signed a one-year deal Wednesday with French club Le Mans and will leave for France on the 21st.

Coleman said he had been in talks with the team since his showing in the Portsmouth Invitational in April. The 6-foot-9 forward, who graduated from Memphis in May, averaged seven points and 4.5 rebounds last season for the Tigers.

"I figured out the best thing for me was to go overseas because of the (NBA) lockout," Coleman said. "I didn't want to just sit around and do nothing."

Before agreeing to terms with the French team, Coleman did his research on the climate and population of Le Mans. He said he doesn't think he'll have any trouble assimilating into European culture.

"Just the type of person I am — I'm a people person," Coleman said. "I love meeting people. I love taking time out of my day to give back and spend time with people that care."

Memphis coach Josh Pastner, expectedly, was delighted to see his first official recruit prolong his basketball career.

"He's continuing it at a high level in a league where there's very good players," Pastner said. "He's in a great country and I'm excited for him and happy for him."

Coleman also worked out for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies this summer but was not extended an offer from the organization.

"I'm very excited (about Le Mans), but I still would love to come back to Memphis and be in a Grizzlies uniform," Coleman said.

Le Mans finished fourth in the Pro A league standings last season.

"Will is a fantastic athlete. He gives us size as well as energy and fighting spirit," Le Mans coach J.D. Jackson said.

During his two years at Memphis, Coleman repeatedly said he was overwhelmed with fan support. As he prepares to ship out for another country, Coleman looked back at his time in Memphis as a blessing.

"It's just so much," Coleman said. "That they would even consider me as a prospect to play for that city, it's just amazing."


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