Basketball

Farewell, Matt Coleman

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I’m a big fan of Matt Coleman.

As a person who fancies himself an admirer of good human beings, this isn’t a particularly hot take.

Coleman is smart, funny, loyal and talented. And that’s just off the court.

There were plenty of basketball reasons for Shaka Smart to hitch his wagons to Matt as a point guard and potential leader of his program. It’s why Shaka built a five-year long relationship with the point guard before he ever stepped foot on the 40 Acres as a college student.

The Longhorns, fresh off an 11-22 season that was begging for the steadying hand of a high-level point guard, got theirs in Coleman. Shaka had his leader, his floor general, his mimicking embodiment and the conference championships and NCAA Tournament wins were a matter of when, not if.

Except…well, you know the rest.

When Coleman met with the media yesterday to discuss his decision, the conflicted nature of his time at Texas was obvious.

Clearly, the relationships he cultivated will be cherished and lifelong.

Just as clearly, however, he can’t really honestly say that the team accomplished the goals they had set for themselves upon his commitment and subsequent arrival.

“It’s a mixture of emotions,” Coleman said of his time in Austin finishing. “You know, these last couple of days I’m just driving around and just like ‘Wow!’ I’m truly going to miss this city.”

Seniors graduating is kind of part of the job description, so his time being over isn’t newsworthy in itself, but the circumstances for Coleman’s departure, namely the rise and fall that were the Big 12 Championship followed by the crushing first-round exit, left the senior guard’s emotions in turmoil.

“I think (the joy of winning the conference tournament being followed by the sadness of the loss to ACU is) what made it so much worse,” Coleman said. “We were just so happy because we had made history.”

Losing that first round game was devastating (the introduction of an entirely new coaching staff, for instance) for everyone, one can appreciate Matt’s emotional struggles given it being his senior year and the team seemingly finally getting over the hump of being a high seed and living up to their high-hype expectations.

“I was hurt, like I was hurt,” Coleman said of his feelings after the loss in Indianapolis. “Soon as media was over, I just ran to the bathroom and I just cried and I slept in my jersey that night.”

So, now, the soon-to-be Texas graduate will turn his attention towards a career in basketball that he hopes will lead to time in the NBA but, he knows, is unlikely to bear fruit immediately. He also knows how critical the next few months will be as he prepares for meetings with teams and scouts in an effort to make it onto an NBA roster. And he does have a focus in mind as to the impression he wants to leave on teams.

“You know, there may be days when you don’t make shots,” Coleman said about how he’s preparing for workouts and the pre-draft process. “You know, that’s just how the tables turn. But you always want to show you’re in shape.”

For Texas fans, any frustrations for Matt’s days when he doesn’t make shots will be tertiary, likely, at most.

Godspeed, Clifford Coleman III, and Hook ‘Em.

My Personal Matt Coleman Favorite Moments

  • Watching him win the high school national title with Oak Hill and the bouncy energy he played with
  • Gonzaga his freshman year where he went toe-to-toe with Josh Perkins
  • The story about him coming home after the missed free throws against Tech and shooting foul shots until 4:00 in the morning
  • Him showing up to a Westlake game with a #ThrillBaker sign in an effort to get Will Baker to come to UT
  • OU Sucks in Norman last year
  • UNC Stunner in Mausheville
  • The entirety of this year’s Big 12 Tournament

I really do like that guy.

Cover photo courtesy of Texas Basketball