Posted On: 11/3/18 12:51 AM

Two years ago at this time, Coleman Sparling was a scrawny freshman going to redshirt his first year at his father’s program. Fast forward to today and the versatile 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward originally from Ellensburg is getting set to help one of the premier junior college programs in the country chase a national championship. Sparling also does so with his future college plans all set, as next year he’ll be heading to the NCAA Division I level.

This past week, Sparling announced that he had verbally committed to sign early with Texas-Arlington. “I was planning on signing late but they were my first offer and they really cared about me,” Sparling said. “I went on my visit and fell in love with the place. It’s 45 minutes from Dallas and 45 minutes from Fort Worth and the school has my sports management degree. Coach (Chris) Ogden is well known and well liked and I felt like I’ve known him my whole life. It just felt like family and I went back home, talked it over with my parents and my coaches, and we all were like there wasn’t a better fit for me.”

Sparling recruitment had just gotten started at the College of Southern Idaho, as Cal Poly had also offered and others were calling him and his coaches. But UT Arlington got in early and it made all the difference in the world. “It’s in the Sun Belt which is a very good conference and I have two years left so I wanted to make the most out of them,” Sparling said. “I felt like I found the place that fit me the best and fit was the number one thing that I was going for.”

“They fit my style of play and I felt like I was wanted and needed there,” Sparling continued. “They just cared about me from the start and I couldn’t be more excited and I can’t wait to get down there.”

The journey has been one that Sparling didn’t initially imagine coming out of Ellensburg High School in 2016. He had some offers to play elsewhere but decided to stay close to home and play for his dad Greg Sparling at Central Washington. After redshirting his first year, he averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 2017-18 but after his father was let go by the school, Sparling decided to leave as well.

The decision was made to use one year of eligibility at junior college and Sparling got connected with CSI, a well-known NJCAA powerhouse who reached the national finals last season. There, his recruitment went into overdrive. As Sparling describes it, he caught the eye of a Texas Tech coach who was recruiting CSI teammate Khalid Thomas. He liked what he saw of Sparling but while the Red Raiders didn’t have a spot for him, he passed his name to UT-Arlington. The Mavericks flew up to Twin Falls to see him workout and it didn’t take long to offer him a scholarship and the rest is history.

“Out of high school I was about 6-5, 200 and now I’m 6-7, 230 – my body has matured and my game is at a whole other level,” Sparling said. “I stayed home and played for my pops but we all knew that I could play at this level. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and this is my time now.”