Big Win Excites Coleman

Matt Coleman’s first visit to the Smith Center isn’t one he’ll soon forget.

The Norfolk (Va.) Maury sophomore compared the atmosphere in Chapel Hill to a game he went to last season.

“It was a great experience,” Coleman said. “I picked a good game to go to. They got a win against a high-ranked Louisville team. The closest game I’ve been to was probably Virginia against Syracuse for the regular-season ACC championship last year.”

Along with his mother and younger brother, Coleman made the three-hour drive from southeastern Virginia Saturday morning. He arrived in the Smith Center about 20 minutes before tip-off.

“We sat courtside like right behind the announcers,” explained Coleman. “There were a couple of fans who knew who I was and they came up to me and said hello.”

During the game, Coleman had his eye on both teams' guards.

“I’m a point guard, so I looked at how they play, how they contribute and what they do,” he said. “I want to see if they are playing as part of a team because I want to be on a national championship team when I get to college. I want to play with guys who have the mindset as me.”

In particular, Coleman studied fellow southpaw Marcus Paige.

“He’s a great player and he started off a little shaky,” Coleman said. “But he stepped up when he needed to and made big shots and plays in the clutch.”

Coleman was one of seven UNC targets or commits in attendance, joining Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Jalek Felton, Harry Giles, Dennis Smith and Luke Maye.

“I talked to the other recruits – Jalek, Harry and Dennis – then I talked to Coach (Hubert) Davis and Coach Roy (Williams),” Coleman said of his post-game interactions. “I saw Coach Roy’s office and it was real nice. It was my first time seeing something like that.

“They (Davis and Roy Williams) just told me they look forward to seeing me in the future,” Coleman continued. “They said to keep coming around.”

Davis has been the point man on UNC’s recruitment of Coleman, which is still in the early stages. A starter for Boo Williams’s 17U AAU team, the Tar Heel staff has seen Coleman plenty since last April. Coleman's teammates on the circuit included 2016 target Edrice Adebayo and 2015 VCU signee Kenny Williams (who was offered a scholarship by Carolina).

“It’s a growing relationship I have with Coach Davis,” Coleman said. “I’ve talked to him twice through my counselor at school. I think he’s a real straight-up, laid-back type of coach and I’m looking forward to growing our relationship.”

Virginia, VCU, UConn, Virginia Tech, Memphis, Cincinnati and Old Dominion have offered Coleman a scholarship. He doesn’t have any upcoming visits planned, but said he will “definitely” try and get down to Chapel Hill for another game this season.

Saturday’s game helped North Carolina, should it decide to offer Coleman.

“I enjoyed myself and the visit is all about selling your school,” he said. “It was a big win and the crowd and the fans were great. I don’t know what to say… I was just excited to be there.”

During the drive home, Coleman received a text message from Felton.

“He was just like, ‘You need to come here now, commit and we can be the best backcourt in the country,’” said Coleman. “I said ‘That’s cool, something to think about.’”

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