Over at Syracuse.com, Donna Ditota caught up with Syracuse Orange big man Dajaun Coleman. In the article, the freshman-soon-to-be-sophomore states pretty clearly he doesn’t plan on coming off the bench again in 2013.
“I expected to play better, but you know, things happen,” Coleman said. “I’m coming back, working my butt off now, so once the season starts I don’t have no setbacks and I can step in, get my starting spot back and stay in the game.”
Of course, easier said than done. The man eats soap kitchens for an afternoon snack, so it’s a good thing he’s been working on his conditioning, so says his brother…
“He’s getting up and down the floor better so he can play more minutes,” Dashawn Coleman said. “Basically, that’s it: Better conditioning.”
As a freshman last year, Coleman officially was a starter until he had surgery on his knee on January 29, but the writing on the wall had been written long before that.
He dominated weaker competition earlier in the year, with double-digit scoring outputs against Colgate, Eastern Michigan and Monmouth. However, starting with the loss to Temple, his minutes began to fall. Prior to his injury, he failed to get double-digit minute in six of ten games, getting shut out in points five times and rebounds four times.
By the time he returned, Jim Boeheim had pretty much eliminated him from the rotation.
Heading into 2013, the competition will only get tougher for Coleman.
Yes, James Southerland is gone, but since we’re going to assume C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas will hold down the SF and PF spots, this leaves Coleman battling sophomores Jerami Grant and Baye Keita for the center spot yet again.
Grant actually took over the starter spot for nine games when Coleman went down, but he didn’t really take advantage of it. In fact, while Keita never started, he played a ton of minutes in the paint down the stretch.
Also, don’t forget about incoming freshman Chinonso Obokoh, an excellent athlete, who loves to protect the rim. He’s probably a better fit for the four with his size, but he will still be competing for minutes at center.
In a perfect world, you have to think Boeheim would want Coleman in there. Unlike Grant, Keita and Obokoh, he’s got the strength and girth to control the paint and be a real presence inside.
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