HAMPTON, Va. – Matt Coleman’s 2015 EYBL season opened with solid performances, including a game-winning three against Expressions Elite this past weekend.
The shot served as more than another win for the Boo Williams 17U squad, however.
With Edrice Adebayo, Chris Clarke and Kenny Williams gone from last year’s team, the three-pointer from the top of the key confirmed what many already knew.
Boo Williams is Coleman’s team now.
“I had to step up to the plate and knock down shots,” the left-handed class of 2017 point guard said. “It’s different; I don’t have those high level guys around me like last year. I have to be able to make more plays. It’s definitely something to adjust to. We still have guys that can make plays now.”
During his high school season, Coleman led Norfolk (Va.) Maury in scoring and assists, and was named first-team all-state. Despite his age, leading is something Coleman has always known how to do.
“It’s a new experience, but Matt is a great kid with a great work ethic,” said Boo Williams, his AAU coach. “He’s doing more things and he’s handling it pretty well. He’s willing to take and make big shots and our guys look up to him. They did that last year.”
In Scout’s latest rankings, Coleman is the No. 17 overall player in 2017 and the No. 3 point guard, behind Troy Brown and UNC commit Jalek Felton. He knows those players very well and enjoys competing against them.
“They’re my biggest competition in 2017 and they’re very good players,” he explained. “They might be a little more athletic than me, but I think I’m poised and just as good an overall point guard. I make good decisions and I’m a good passer.”
Brown has offers from schools across the country and Felton is committed to his dream school. Coleman’s recruitment, while very active regionally, has yet to take off on a national scale.
“I know my time will come,” he said. “Ain’t nothing to rush.”
Texas head coach Shaka Smart offered and prioritized Coleman while still at VCU. He’s done the same since taking over in Austin less than a month ago.
“He offered me the day after he got the job,” said Coleman. “He called (former VCU player) Briante Weber – that’s like my brother – so I was next to him and he told me, ‘I know you’ve been waiting for this call. I just want to tell you off the top that you have a Texas offer. ‘ He said, ‘I know you’ve got a lot of swagger and I’ve got swag too so you should play with a coach with swagger.' I laughed when he said that, but I like Shaka, he’s a good dude and I have a great relationship with him.’”
Coleman’s value to the school he chooses could go far beyond his play at the point guard position. He has meaningful relationships with several class of 2017 players, and his unselfishness on the court is attractive.
“We have a little group chat going on,” he said. “Jalek, Troy, P.J. Washington, Michael Porter, Trae Young, Trey Duval. We stay in contact throughout the year and ask how everybody’s season went.”
The North Carolina staff saw Coleman last weekend in Hampton and plans to continue to watch him throughout the spring and summer evaluation periods. Coleman took two unofficial visits to Chapel Hill last season.
Williams believes Coleman would fare well at UNC.
“Oh, he’d be a great fit at Carolina,” Williams said. “He can do what they like to do, pretty good. He’s Kendall Marshall with a jump shot.”
Matt Coleman Hampton EYBL Evaluation
by Rob Harrington
"Matt Coleman certainly earned ample viewing time from the coaching staff, despite the fact that he’s a sophomore and that UNC already has a guard committed (Jalek Felton) from that class.
"Coleman actually would complement Felton very well. He’s a pass first playmaker who unselfishly distributes, keeps the ball moving and tries to make sure everyone gets a touch. He possesses a very advanced understanding of offense for such a young age, and over the past nine months he has gained significant quickness and explosive leaping ability.
"That said, he played a little too east-west at time this past weekend. Coleman can score and hit one huge three to lead Boo to a win, but overdribbles at this stage without purpose or a sense of attack. That’s something he’ll need to iron as he matures. He had his moments, though, and all rising juniors will get a little slack given that they’re playing up."
Coleman Taking Charge
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