2015 Cathedral (IN) High School shooting guard Jalen Coleman took advantage of the opportunity to play ‘up’ two years in Fort Wayne last weekend. GBW spoke with his coach, teammate Trevon Bluiett and Coleman himself about the decision and how he fared.
Already playing ‘up’ a year with Spiece Indy Heat, 2015 Cathedral (IN) High School shooting guard Jalen Coleman took his talents to Spiece Blue 17U over the weekend in Fort Wayne for a chance to grow as a person and player against the best talent provided at the high school level.
“Actually one of the owners of the association called me about the opportunity, and I didn’t mind,” said Coleman of being moved up two years. “It’s the last tournament, I’m not scared to do it, and next year I’ll be playing up so I wanted a taste of it right now because I thought I was ready.”
“I’m improving each game and it doesn’t necessarily have to be with scoring,” Coleman continued. “Defense, boards, I’m contributing something for my team to win the game.”
Coleman’s AAU coach for the weekend, the father of 2014 Michigan target Trevon Bluiett, Reynardo, reiterated the opportunity for Coleman to get his feet wet sooner than later.
“Typically at the end of the year we’ll bring a younger guy or two up and let them get a taste of it because it’s such a different level with speed and strength,” said Reynardo Bluiett. “So he was there, and he came in, and he’s fitting right in. He’s got some things to work on but that’s what this is for—we don’t want him going into the off-season thinking that he’s ready. He’s a great kid more than anything.”
Aside from a positive learning experience for the young man, the chance to add a scoring threat like Coleman to an already talented Spiece squad was just as beneficial to the team as the individual.
“He’s known to step into shots so his shot selection isn’t horrible, and he can really shoot the ball,” said Bluiett. “He’s learning to play defense and he’s very aggressive and athletic, so he’s putting it all together and playing with other good players. That’s the thing he has to do as soon as possible.”
One of those good players surrounding Coleman on Spiece Blue was his good friend and mentor, 2014 Park Tudor (IN) High School small forward Trevon Bluiett. Although Trevon will admit he was hesitant about the jump initially, Coleman earned the team’s trust very quickly.
“I actually found out the day before the tournament started and at first I didn’t know, I didn’t think he was ready for it,” said Trevon. “But the first game he came out and proved himself, took big charges and made plays. At that point I was like, he can play with any age group. So he’s definitely a special and talented player.”
“Me and him are real close,” said Coleman of his relationship with Bluiett. “As far as everyone on the team, he’s probably influenced me the most as far as coming on the team and playing; so it’s good.”
Throughout his career at Park Tudor, Bluiett has had a great player to look up to and learn from in 2012 Indiana point guard signee Yogi Ferrell, so for the four star small forward it’s his turn to give the advice as opposed to receiving it.
“It felt great, being in the type of position that Yogi was in with me— teaching him the dos and don’ts and exposing his weaknesses and telling him to get better,” said Bluiett. “I’m glad that he looks up to me, and I really put effort into telling him how to play the game.”
Garnering a full repertoire of offensive skill and a modest personality, it’s no wonder why Coleman is attracting so much early attention from college coaches.
“He’s just a great kid and he’s hungry, just a pleasant guy to be around,” said Coach Bluiett. “He doesn’t quite know how good he is, or cares. He just wants to play.”
Next up, Coleman is hitting the recruiting trail a little. He will make an unofficial visit swing north this coming Monday to visit both Michigan and Michigan State.