Missouri Eyeing Power Forward

When all-America junior DeMarcus Cousins recently committed to Alabama-Birmigham, it took a chunk out of Missouri's 2009 recruiting hopes. Still, the Tigers staff surely was aware that Cousins was a longshot, and thus continued evaluating and cultivating other options. So who might be the Tigers' No. 1 power forward target for next year? As usual, InsideMizzou.com has the hoops recruiting scoop…

Will Coleman, a 6-foot-9, 240-pounder who recently finished his freshman season at Miami-Dade (Fla.) Community College, appears to be a player of serious interest for Mizzou. We recently caught up with Coleman and got the details on his game, his background and his recruitment.

Coleman's coach at Miami-Dade hasn't allowed him to talk to coaches because he wants the gifted big man to focus on his game and his gardes. But Coleman knows who's been sending mail.

"UConn, Missouri, Tennessee, UNLV, Kentucky," said Coleman, a Georgia native who averaged in the neighborhood of 17 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 blocks during an all-conference freshman campaign.

Coleman is a classic late bloomer. He didn't play basketball until his junior year of high school, committed to Arkansas-Little Rock as a senior and then headed for Miami in an effort to tidy his transcript and gain a higher level of college interest. So far, so good – he's flourishing academically and will have a list of high-major offers before it's over. Missouri attended several of his games this year, along with several other major programs.

While he grew up in SEC country, he has no preconceived notions about where he'd like to play college basketball.

"I'm not worried about it. I went from Georgia to Miami t play, so it's not really a problem. I just want to play. I'm not the picky type," Coleman said.

Coleman would seem to be an excellent fit for Mizzou's run-and-press system. A former football player, he says he's run the 40-yard dash in the 4.4-second range. If his speed is even close to that range, he'd have a great chance to thrive in MU's attack. As far as his strongest assets on the court, he's not one to make boastful claims.

"I'm still rough around the edges right now because I started playing so late, but my coach told me we're going to work on it in the summer," he said.

Because of his modest high school resume and his coach's insistence on shielding him from recruiters, he's also new to the whole recruiting game.

Asked if he'll take visits this summer and when he'd like to commit, he said, "I don't know, it's the coach's call."

He's not sure which schools are most interested, who has offered him so far or why he's received a sudden bump in the level of college programs that would like to have him on their respective rosters.

"I don't know about recruiting and all of that. I'm just going to play the cards I was dealt and make the most of my opportunities," he said, adding that he's like to go somewhere with the opportunity to play immediately.

And asked about Missouri, he admitted to not knowing a great deal, but says he's definitely interested.

"I watch them and I've been looking them up on the net," he said.

Stay tuned to InsideMizzou.com for the latest as Coleman's recruitment begins to take shape this summer…

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