Posted On: 01/16/17 11:48 AM
Arguably the most heralded recruit from the 757 in the past decade, 4 star Oak Hill point guard Matt Coleman made his collegiate decision Monday morning, choosing the Texas Longhorns over the Duke Blue Devils on ESPNU.
The Norfolk native is ranked #2 in the Vantage Hoops rankings and #26 nationally in the ESPN 2017 rankings held offers from over 30 schools including high level programs like Kansas, Syracuse, Indiana, Baylor, Florida, Ohio State, Washington, Louisville and Arizona, just to name a few. He announced back in November that he had cut his final three schools to Stanford, Duke and Texas, and announced this past week that he would make his decision between Duke and Texas before their game January 16 against Nathan Hall in the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The decision came out well for Shaka Smart and the Longhorns, who desperately need a point guard to help implement his Havoc system. Coleman says his long time relationship with Smart played a big role in his decision, along with the chance to help build a special program.
“We have a great relationship,” Coleman said about Smart. “Him and Coach [Mike] Morrell have been with me since the eighth grade, so we talk and communicate all the time just about normal stuff not even about basketball. So we have a great relationship, since the eighth grade it’s just continued to grow and develop.”
An early prodigy at Maury High School in Norfolk, VA, Coleman’s accolades are among the best in not just Virginia, but the whole country as well. He has been a rare three year starter in the Nike EYBL for local legend Boo Williams, won a national championship last season after transferring to national powerhouse Oak Hill, and he won a gold medal playing for the U18 USA team in the FIBA America Games.
Despite being narrowly left off the McDonalds All American game, Coleman is confident in his decision and is happy that the grind of it is over.
“The hardest part has been dividing the pros and cons, knowing the difference between where you want to go and where you need to go,” Coleman said. “It’s hard to say no to Duke, that’s a basketball powerhouse with the greatest coach of all time in Coach K., but at the end of the day I had to do what’s right for me and what will help me get to the next level.”
Expect the athletic 6’2” guard to compete for a starting role right away, as his style of play is exactly the type of point guard that Shaka had success with at VCU where he began recruiting Coleman. An uptempo guard that can push pace, defend on the basketball the length of the floor and create plays for others
In the end, Coleman says it was essentially fate that brought him to Austin.
“I just went with my heart and my gut feeling, and God was telling me to trust him and that’s where I needed to go. Just going to Texas and watching how they play, seeing what my role will be and knowing I’m going to have the keys from day one, and hopefully I can help turn the program around and get it to where it’s supposed to be. I think all they need is that steady, playmaking point guard.”
Coleman and Oak Hill are currently 17-2 and are ranked #2 in the nation by USA Today.