Syracuse freshman center DaJuan Coleman struggled to get going in the home-opener for the Orange, but came back to give the team a positive presence on the court in the matches that followed versus both Princeton and Colgate.
"When I was out there, I felt real comfortable," said Coleman after the Princeton game. "I think I felt more comfortable than last game, on offense and defense. I got a couple points that got me going a little bit." Coleman's jumper opened the scoring for Syracuse with an early 2-0 lead. The Orange would never trail in the game once Coleman got them started.
Coleman spoke on the importance of getting Syracuse on the board to start off the game. "It means a whole lot," Coleman expressed. "Me going in the game, [I] always try to set the tempo, so any little thing I can do to help the team just get going, that's what I'm a do."
He would also turn five turnovers versus Wagner into five steals against Princeton to aid the Syracuse defense, and commit only one turnover in the match with Colgate.
Despite the success in those areas, Coleman remains focused on being an-all around player. "My free throw's a little shaky, but those free throws I shoulda made," Coleman stated after the Princeton game. "I mean, no excuse for that."
Coleman responded by connecting on four of his six free throws attempt against Colgate.
But, scoring is not the only area Coleman focuses on when it comes to helping the Orange attain a victory. "I try to do any little thing, the assist, the extra rebound, taking charges," Coleman shared. "I try to do anything to help the team win." Through four games, Coleman has been involved on both the offensive and defensive glass for rebounds, blocked shots, gained steals, and has made an assist.
"He's gonna be a beast," said Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins.
The freshman center shared his take on what Hopkins working with him has done for his game. "It means a lot just having him coach me every day, working with the bigs every day and how much he really care about us and how much he really wanna help us," Coleman stated. "It means a whole lot because…he just motivate me to play better."
When asked what he has taken from Hopkins' teaching in order to elevate his game, Coleman responded, "Everything. I mean just from him telling me to box in and everything. Every time he talk to me I just get that real motivation just to go out there and do my best."
Heading into the SEC/Big East Challenge on Friday, November 30th, at 8:30pm Eastern, Coleman will be coming off of his best performance of his young career in Syracuse's victory over Colgate. He set a new single-game high in his career for points with 12, tied his best rebounding performance with seven, and had his best outing at the free-throw line going 4-for-6. Now, it is onto the next one for the freshman big man.