By Brenna Greene, Class of 2014
Gonzaga News Service
SPOKANE, Wash. – Sitting out a year in any sport is a challenge. Sitting out a year while your team reaches No. 1 in the country for the first time, and earns its first top seed in the NCAA Tournament? Now that is difficult. The time to shine in a Gonzaga uniform has finally come for junior Gerard Coleman, a transfer from Providence College.
Coleman is expected to play a major role in Gonzaga’s offense this season. A wiry and strong “3” guard, he brings a new dimension to the position held last year by Mike Hart, the captain for Sports Illustrated magazine’s 2012-2013 All Glue Guy Team. As a sophomore for the Friars of the Big East, Coleman averaged 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds and expects to improve those numbers this season.
When asked to describe his style of play, the 6-foot-4-inch Coleman cuts straight to the point. “I’m a scorer, slasher, someone who can get to the rim and make things happen.”
In a recent article in The Spokesman Review, Coleman’s Zagmates described his play in similar ways. For example, senior center Sam Dower Jr. also called him a “slasher” who “pushes the ball like crazy off a rebound.”
It looks like Coleman has used his redshirt year to his advantage, just as former Zag and current Boston Celtic Kelly Olynyk did before his consensus All-American performance last season. Coleman has worked hard on his strength and his outside shot, but says he is most proud of his improvement on defense.
“My defense has come a long ways. They used to show me clips of myself at Providence, and what I used to do on defense opposed to what I do now. I take it a lot more seriously,” says Coleman, a sports management major.
Coleman has achieved impressive numbers. He averaged 28.5 points in high school in Boston and was rated the No. 2 prospect in New England as a senior. He was named the 33rd best prospect in the country by Scout.com, No. 54th best by Slam Magazine, No. 54 in the ESPNU 100, and was ranked No. 58 by Rivals.com.
At Providence, where Coleman became the first true freshman to start in a season-opener since 2005-06, he garnered two Big East Rookie of the Week awards, and averaged double-digits in points per game both seasons.
Recently, a USA Today article also named Coleman an “X-Factor” for the Bulldogs this season.
Despite all of the personal attention around his return, Coleman speaks of his goals in the collective sense, from a team perspective.
“I just want to help this team win as many games as possible and go deep in the tournament,” he said.