LOS ANGELES—Wrapping up a long high school season last spring, falling one win shy of capturing a 4A state championship in Indiana, 2015 shooting guard Jalen Coleman has seen his life change considerably.
The one time member of Cathedral (Ind.) high school, lead by head coach Andy Fagan, Coleman and his family decided to accept a scholarship from La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere high school, a private institution with just 200 students enrolled, allowing Coleman to finish out his final two years of high school away from home.
On the court, a positional transition has been in the works as well. Coleman, a 6-4, 185-pound guard, spent the better part of his first two years playing off the ball. This spring and summer, with Indiana Elite on the AAU circuit, Coleman made a concerted effort to become more of a combo guard, handling some of the point guard duties.
“Dribble penetration has improved tremendously and coming off the pick and roll has been big,” Coleman’s father Piankhi Lands told GoBlueWolverine. “Learning how to maneuver, when to split the defense, when not to, and he’s getting really good information here on that.”
Coleman and his family made the trip to the west coast over the weekend in order to compete in Adidas Nations 2013, a collection of some of the best basketball talent around the world, all in one place, working with professional coaches and players in a disciplined setting.
“Very proud,” Lands said. “I really get to see how competitive my son is against better competition and real good competition. It’s amazing and I think he’s learning a lot about things he needs to work on and improve and it doesn’t get better than this, at all.”
Also adjusting to the added attention that has come with his recruiting process, picking up recent offers from UCLA and Arizona, Coleman was offered by John Beilein and Michigan in the middle of June, a school very much in the running for his commitment for quite some time now.
“Very, very positive,” Lands said of the Wolverines. “They’re up there. They’re at the top. The coaching staff is awesome.
“We just found out the head coach is going to be there until 2019 cause he got his contract renewed. That’s real good information for us and kind of makes both of us feel a lot more comfortable about, if this is the school he’s going to go to, he knows he’s going to be there with this particular coach the whole time. And that’s very important.”
Originally naming his son after former Michigan point guard Jalen Rose, a member of the famed fab five, Lands and his family still reminisce about the Michigan basketball era they grew up in. Now, with his son having the opportunity to attend school in Ann Arbor and play basketball, their feelings toward the Maize & Blue, and the program in place, is even more appealing.
“Michigan, me and my brothers talk about it a lot, and I’ve talked about it with Jalen, I mean, that would be a special opportunity,” Lands said. “And the main thing is, and I didn’t really notice until this past year, how well the coaching staff relates to the players, also.
“You can tell that camaraderie is there. And the head coach trusts his players, from whatever relationship he has with them, in the games, and you can see it, especially in that championship game.”
Focused on Coleman’s move to La Lumiere, as well as his little brother, Isaiah, an incoming freshman guard that will follow big brother to school, the Coleman’s haven’t thought much about college visits this fall -- except for a trip to Michigan.
“We actually talked to coach (LaVall) Jordan about setting up a football game,” Lands said. “I think it’s either going to be the first weekend, the 31st, or the one following that against Notre Dame.
“Not (any other visits) in mind (at this time), not this fall. Maybe, possibly, Michigan State (could get a visit). But that’s our number one goal is to get up to Michigan’s campus.
“I haven’t actually been to the campus and neither has his mom so that experience and him seeing how we vibe from that is going to be a big deal for us.”
A long ways away from officially becoming a student-athlete in college, the Coleman’s aren’t necessarily in a hurry to make a decision, but according to Coleman’s father, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for his son to commit early.
Could a commitment be made on their weekend visit to Ann Arbor this fall?
“There’s a chance,” Lands said. “There’s definitely a chance on that trip. There’s a chance that can happen.
“The thing is, we want to get it over with. It’s not like it’s a burden but once you know what school you’re going to, you can really eliminate all the pressures of college coaches and all the what if’s and all that different type of stuff. The sooner the better.”
Look for highlights of Coleman in action from Adidas Nations in the coming days.