Texas Gets Its (Cole)Man

Matt Coleman. (courtesy of Coleman)

Matt Coleman. (courtesy of Coleman)

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AUSTIN — Shaka Smart’s four-year-long recruitment of blue chip point guard Matt Coleman (Oak Hill Academy) has finally paid off as Coleman committed to the Longhorns on Monday during the ESPN telecast of Oak Hill’s game against Nathan Hale.

Coleman’s (No. 26, nationally, by ESPN) decision to head to Austin comes at an integral point in Coach Smart’s tenure at UT. Much has been made of Smart’s current Longhorn team and their collective need of a true point guard who can create offense out of nothing to maximize the abilities of players like Andrew Jones, Kerwin Roach, Tevin Mack and Jarrett Allen.

Coleman answers that question and then some.

Strengths

·         Lightning quick with the ball in his hands and in the open floor

·         A creative passer who is willing to take chances as a playmaker

·         Committed to his point guard duties in looking to get shots for others before himself

·         Can get into the lane at will against man

·         Solid in ball screen, with a chance to be special with an improving shot off the bounce

·         Capable spot up shooter off catch and shoot situations

·         Ideal strength, length and quickness as a defender both in man and zone

·         Left handed

·         Time at Oak Hill has allowed him to build comfort in playing with other high level prospects

·         Showed poise and leadership in starting at the point guard position for Team USA under Coach Smart

Weaknesses

·         Lacks a pure stroke on his jumper

·         Can struggle as a shooter off the bounce

·         Will need to clean up his free throw mechanics

·         Can be overly aggressive as a passer

What He Means for Texas

·         Will likely start from Day 1 at point guard

·         Allows Roach and Jones to move off the ball where they can be high level secondary playmakers

·         Likely moves one of Roach or Jones to the bench, bolstering that second unit considerably

·         Increases the value of players like Allen, Osetkowski, Banks because of his ability in the pick and roll

·         Fills a big need with a high level prospect while also probably being a three or four year guy

·         Makes the possibility of landing Mohammed Bamba more real

Coleman, while likely not at that same level, has the chance to be a TJ Ford or DJ Augustin type prospect for Coach Smart. Point guards with his quickness and ability with the ball are priceless in the collegiate game.

And, now, with the inclusion of Coleman, Texas’ coaching staff can focus all of their 2017 energy on five star studs Mohammed Bamba and Brian Bowen knowing that even if they didn’t land either of them, this class was excellent (adding Coleman to Sims, Febres and Hamm).

Huge pickup for Coach Smart and the Longhorn program.

Stay tuned to InsideTexas.com for more conversation about Coleman and the rest of the 2017 UT recruiting class.

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