Center DaJuan Coleman arrived on the Syracuse campus amidst much fanfare in 2012, as he was the local phenom who decided to suit up for Jim Boeheim despite being pursued by many other elite programs. A McDonald’s All-American in 2012, Coleman was seen as an elite big man whose stay in college had the potential to be a short one.
However that hasn’t been the case, with injuries limiting Coleman for most of his time at Syracuse. Yet there seems to be some optimism, albeit guarded, regarding his status for the 2015-16 campaign after redshirting last season. With practice set to begin next week Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim spoke positively of Coleman’s progress to the Syracuse Post-Standard, noting that his 6-foot-9 center is actually getting to play basketball.
That’s an important development for Coleman, as in the past he’s generally had to focus on rehabbing his knee and non-contact drills.
“He’s actually playing. He’s been playing more the last month,” Boeheim said. “This summer, he wasn’t playing that much. I’m updating you on what he’s done in the last month and that’s been an improvement over what he’s done prior to this. I think there’s every reason to be optimistic at this point in time. “
Coleman’s status is important for the Orange given the available options in the post. Freshman Moustapha Diagne, who was expected to be an immediate contributor, wasn’t cleared academically and is now attending Northwest Florida State College. And with Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough both in the NBA, losing Diagne was a tough personnel hit for a team that isn’t all that deep in the post.
In addition to Coleman the Orange return juniors Tyler Roberson and Chinoso Okoboh, and freshman Tyler Lydon joins the ranks with Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu sitting out the 2015-16 season. While it wouldn’t be fair to expect major minutes from Coleman given his career to this point, Syracuse’s numbers in the post mean that they’ll need to get something of consequence from him if they’re to be a contender in the ACC.