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Friday, August 15, 2008

Tigers get commitment from junior college forward

Tigers get commitment from junior college forward
By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Originally published 10:27 p.m., August 14, 2008

The University of Memphis basketball program got its second commitment of the 2009 recruiting class Thursday night when Miami-Dade Junior College forward Will Coleman gave a verbal pledge to coach John Calipari.

A 6-foot-9, 265-pound physical specimen in the mold of former Memphis players Chris Massie and Joey Dorsey, Coleman adds an athletic big man to a recruiting class that could end up being heavy on skill.

“I feel excellent,” Coleman said by phone Thursday night. “Just the whole environment up there, the team, the staff, the whole environment. I loved it.”

Coleman was under-recruited out of high school in Columbus, Ga., in part because he weighed just 220 pounds and because he didn’t begin playing basketball until his junior year. He originally signed with Arkansas-Little Rock but then went the junior college route due to academics.

After gaining nearly 50 pounds and routinely putting up double-doubles in his first season at Miami-Dade, Coleman drew the attention of high-major assistant coaches including Memphis’ Orlando Antigua.

“When I first went to Miami-Dade, no one knew who I was,” Coleman said. “I played my heart out, as a freshman and did what I had to do. I listened to the coaches, and just my name started flying I guess. It all came together.”

Coleman joins Nolan Dennis, a shooting guard from Dallas ranked in the top-50 in the country, in the Tigers' recruiting class. They are still pursuing several of the nation's elite players, including point guard John Wall and shooting guard Xavier Henry.

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