NCB On The Trail: Justin Coleman

Crimson Tide ink 2014 class

November, 13, 2013
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Alabama head coach Anthony Grant announced the signing of three student-athletes on Wednesday, the first day of the men's basketball early signing period.

Joining the Crimson Tide in 2014-15 will be ESPN 100 prospects Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) and Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville), along with shooting guard Devin Mitchell (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill).

Notebook: Bruins host big visitor 

September, 20, 2013
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Truth? It’s not a big campus visited weekend. Take a look at the pedestrian football schedule and you’ll see what I mean. However, there are a few stragglers on campus this weekend, some of which are crucial to a few programs this year and next.

Top five undervalued classes 

September, 19, 2013
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Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings landed a commitment from his second four-star prospect in as many weeks over the weekend when Matthew Fisher-Davis (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) joined Wade Baldwin (Hillsborough, N.J./St. Joseph).

With a pair of four-star prospects now on board in mid-September, Stallings’ class is considered good, but not great, by most national standards.

But the reality is that each school comes into the summer with different needs and priorities, and ultimately those objectives are tied to winning basketball games, not class rankings. Coaches consider fit, style, personnel, and a variety of other variables.

For Vanderbilt, that means looking for high-character guys who fit their system and culture. Given that approach, the Commodores are one of five schools off that couldn't hope to be off to a better start.


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Analyzing recent ESPN 100 PG news 

August, 13, 2013
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Reading through the typical recruiting jargon can be a difficult task, especially for the untrained eye, but suffice it to say that things aren’t always what they seem.

Some of the most misleading statements often include sayings like, "He has offers from," or "He chose school X over," or "He decommitted from," primarily because they consider only one side of the process.

The fact of the matter is that schools choose prospects as much as prospects choose schools, and the former is no less fluid than the latter.

What does that mean? It means that sometimes when a tweet or recruiting article says Player X committed to School Y over offers from Schools A, B, C and D, what it can really mean is that Schools A, B, C and D offered Player X at some point in the past, but are no longer recruiting him, so he decided to commit to School Y.

Now, why would a school suddenly stop recruiting a prospect? Because they suddenly realized he wasn't good enough? Possibly, but more likely it's because they have since received a commitment from, or feel like they are on the verge of a commitment from, someone else at the same position whom they hold in a little higher esteem.

So, with that in mind, we're going to rewind through a particularly busy few weeks in the national point guard market and make an attempt to translate the real story. Whether it was a prospect who made a commitment or cut his list, we'll tell you which schools are in, which are out, the real story behind whose decision it was, and the bottom line for each prospect. Then we'll circle back and tell you which two ESPN 100 point guards are still uncommitted and open to new suitors.

[+] EnlargeTyus Jones
AP Photo/Damen Jackson No. 1 PG Tyus Jones recently reaffirmed his desire to play college hoops with No. 1 overall recruit Jahlil Okafor.
News: Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) reaffirms his intent to go to school with Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young)
In: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State
Out: Minnesota
Real story: Minnesota is still on Jones' list of seven, but the Gophers aren't on Okafor's list. That, in addition to the fact Richard Pitino and his staff could be seen prioritizing other targets this summer, is indication enough that Jones isn't likely to be staying home next season. The latest twist in the story is Okafor's AAU coach, Mike Irvin, going on record saying there is a great chance Duke lands Jones, while Okafor's camp has denied the Blue Devils are the leader for the package deal.
Bottom line: Jones and Okafor do want to go to school together, but they don't yet agree on where. Jones appears pretty set on Duke, but Okafor not quite as much at this point. ESPN 100 SF Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John's) is also part of the conversation, making this potentially one of the biggest package deals in recent history.


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Tide's big recruiting week rolls on 

August, 7, 2013
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Class of 2014 three-star shooting guard Devin Mitchell (Lawrenceville, Ga./Collins Hill) committed to Alabama on Wednesday over offers from Wake Forest, Georgia, Kansas State and UAB to give coach Anthony Grant his third commitment in the past week.

[+] EnlargeDevin Mitchell
Shun Williams2014 SG Devin Mitchell has a knack for scoring in bunches.
In addition to Mitchell, Grant added ESPN 100 small forward Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville) on Monday and received a commitment from ESPN 100 point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) last Wednesday. Norris ranks No. 64 and Coleman No. 72 in the 2014 class.

In the span of a week, the Tide went from zero commitments to No. 9 in the 2014 recruiting class rankings.

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Alabama lands ESPN 100 SF Norris 

August, 5, 2013
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ESPN 100 small forward Riley Norris (Albertville, Ala./Albertville) committed to Alabama on Monday over offers from Arkansas, Butler, Florida State, Marquette, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others.

He gives the Tide their second in-state ESPN 100 recruit in less than a week after receiving a commitment from point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) on July 31. Norris is the No. 1 prospect in the state and No. 64 overall in the Class of 2014, while Coleman is No. 3 in Alabama and No. 72 overall in the country.

Norris’ commitment moves the Tide into the 2014 class rankings at No. 9 and is huge for Alabama coach Anthony Grant to keep home two of the top three players in the state.

So why did Norris pick the Tide and what will he bring to Alabama?

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Notebook: Recruiting notes from July 

August, 2, 2013
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Thanks to a busy July and a run of news this week following the end of the July evaluation periods, the return of our weekly Friday recruiting notebook has no shortage of big-time recruiting info. From a big decommitment for Louisville to a host of trimmed up college lists to notes from a busy month on the road, we’ve got you covered.

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ESPN 100 PG Coleman picks Tide 

July, 31, 2013
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ESPN 100 point guard Justin Coleman (Birmingham, Ala./Wenonah) committed to Alabama on Wednesday over offers from Auburn, Arkansas, UAB, Butler and Xavier, among others.

Justin Coleman
Courtesy of NikeNo. 72 recruit Justin Coleman committed to Alabama on Wednesday.
Coleman’s pledge puts the Crimson Tide on the board in the 2014 class with the No. 3-ranked player in the state of Alabama and the nation’s No. 72 overall prospect in the ESPN 100.

The point guard position was a huge priority for the Crimson Tide in the Class of 2014, so head coach Anthony Grant and his staff have filled a major need with Coleman on board.

What will he bring and how does he fit with the Tide?

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Top 10 lessons learned in July 

July, 31, 2013
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To understand what just happened in college basketball recruiting, let me use a golf analogy. In golf majors, Saturdays set the players up for the final round and determine the pairings for the homestretch.

In college basketball, the month of July is like that Saturday of a golf major. Coaches fly coast to coast, some to evaluate and others simply to babysit prospects. It’s a grueling 15 days on the road -- separated into three different five-day open evaluation periods -- and even the seasoned veterans will tell you that. Technology has made it easier to keep track of the recruits, but travel is travel, and so much time in different cities is rough on the bodies of the players and coaches.

Still, July remains the single most important month on the recruiting calendar. It sets the tone for in-home and official visits. It helps set up the final round and determines the pairings for the homestretch.

For the better part of July 6-28, I was on the road. Every day was something new and an opportunity to gather intelligence on players and pay attention to the world of college basketball recruiting. If you didn’t learn something daily, you weren’t doing your job.

Here are 10 key things I learned this month on the recruiting trail, from package deals to the loaded 2016 class and everything in between.

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Top 10 takeaways from the LeBron camp 

July, 10, 2013
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he's at, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LAS VEGAS AND CHARLOTTE -- For three days earlier this week, the king’s court was the Cashman Center in old Las Vegas. There, LeBron James hosted 80 of the top high school basketball prospects in the country, each of whom one day aspires to either be in LeBron’s court or on it.

The obvious narrative that emerged from the 2013 LeBron James Skills Academy was the paint dominance of No. 2 rising senior Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie). As grassroots lore goes, this was a tame event with a singular dominating big man.

However, when dozens of the nation’s cream of the crop gather in one spot, there are always stories to tell and observations to be made. Here are my top 10 takeaways from this year’s LeBron camp.

[+] EnlargeCliff Alexander
AP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New MediaNo. 2 recruit Cliff Alexander was the star of stars at the 2013 LeBron camp.
1. Alexander stated his case

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Alexander dominates Day 2 at LeBron 

July, 8, 2013
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he's at, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

LAS VEGAS -- Everyone was assembling. The stage was set for No. 10 rising senior Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) to take on No. 2 Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie). Unfortunately, the much-anticipated matchup didn’t happen after a leg injury for Turner put this titanic tilt on ice.

Still, a long Day 2 at the LeBron James Skills Academy on Sunday and the first day of games allowed ample time to evaluate and gather intel on many premier players. Here are some nuggets from Day 2.

[+] EnlargeCliff Alexander
AP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New MediaDay 2 at the LeBron camp belonged to No. 2 recruit Cliff Alexander, who dominated both games he played.
No Myles, but plenty of Alexander

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Best of the LeBron camp Day 2 

July, 8, 2013
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LAS VEGAS -- The second day of the LeBron James Skills Academy on Sunday was a bit of a downer as No. 10 recruit Myles Turner (tweaked hamstring) was held out of action prior to his much anticipated encounter with Cliff Alexander. However, many other prospects exhibited the type of skill necessary to stand out at the event, led by the most complete scoring guard in the country in No. 11 prospect Rashad Vaughn.

Here are some superlatives from Day 2.

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