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Recruitment in full swing, MV's Coleman treks across Indiana, U.S.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The sequence is likely one of the primary reasons CJ Coleman holds seven Division I scholarship offers.

The slender, six-foot-3 senior-to-be from Mt. Vernon corralled a long rebound and immediately looked upcourt. He pushed his dribble, but didn’t force the action. As the defense in front of him began to settle in, Coleman crossed over to his left and rose into the air beyond the 3-point arc.

The ball last touched the middle finger on his right hand, which left the orange sphere rotating like Earth on its axis.

Bottom of the net.

On the next possession, Coleman cut sharply off a pick and caught the ball as if he was Reggie Wayne cutting upfield off a bubble screen.

Rise. Fire. Swish.

Coleman, who holds offers from Ball State, Gardner-Webb, Indiana State, IUPUI, Missouri-Kansas City, North Carolina-Greensboro and Northern Kentucky, has spent the better part of his summer crisscrossing Indiana and occasionally venturing outside the boundaries of the Hoosier State, all in the name of playing the game he loves and coming closer to reaching a decision on his college destination.

He spent April and May suiting up with Spiece Indy Ice, his AAU team. June was devoted to catching up with his MV teammates and new head coach Travis Daugherty.

“We had more practices than open gyms trying to get everything in,” Coleman said of the MV workouts.

July brought a return to AAU ball and a recent appearance on national television, as Spiece routed Team Work (Va.) 91-46 in the ESPNU-broadcasted finals of the Adidas Invitational 17U platinum bracket at North Central.

After spending the weekend in Fishers competing in a tournament, this week Coleman is in Las Vegas as Spiece competes in the 17 division of the Adidas Super 64.

Recently, Coleman took part in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/IHSAA Top 100 Boys Basketball Showcase at Ben Davis High School. The event is designed for prospective collegiate hoopsters to gain exposure at an NCAA-sanctioned event by participating in drills and games.

The campers also took in an NCAA recruitment/compliance seminar and listened to a guest speaker.

The Top 100 Showcase was also a prime opportunity for college coaches to view prospects during the second of three summer evaluation periods.

Three Big Ten head coaches: Purdue’s Matt Painter, Iowa’s Fran McCaffery and Northwestern’s Chris Collins plus Indiana assistant Tim Buckley and Dane Fife — a former Indiana player turned Michigan State assistant — were the highest-profile names among the dozens of colleges represented.

Once summer reaches its end, Coleman will have the wheels on his recruitment spinning into high gear.

At the beginning of August, he will travel to Atlanta to visit family and take unofficial visits to Georgia Southern and Mercer.

“After that, I will sit down with my family and start narrowing down schools and take my official visits,” Coleman said.

Coleman mentioned academics and location as the priorities he holds when considering a school.

“Everything has to feel right. It’s got to be four years where I can have a great time and look back on it well,” he offered. “Of course, I have to make the decision with my family.”

With his basketball recruitment consuming much of his time before and after school begins for Mt. Vernon on July 31, Coleman acknowledged that he doesn’t believe he will be perusing the pitch for Aaron Britt’s boys soccer squad this year.

But, Coleman quickly added that he’s “not 100 percent” ready to give up on soccer just yet.

Coleman was an All-Hancock County boys soccer selection a season ago, leading the county with 11 assists for the sectional-champion Marauders.

Before the Top 100 campers played their final round of games, they were regaled with a spirited sermon from Clark Kellogg, the Indiana Pacers vice president for player relations and a college basketball analyst for CBS Sports.

Kellogg — a standout at Ohio State University who went on to become a first-round pick of the Pacers before chronic knee injuries cut short his career at 26 — touched on a variety of topics, varying from the general (character, attitude) to specific (potential pitfalls of social media).

Kellogg has also been credited with playing a major role in the maturation of Pacers guard Lance Stephenson. Stephenson — barely seeing playing time in his first two years — started 72 games during the regular season and was a key reason why Indiana reached the Eastern Conference Finals this spring.

For Coleman, Kellogg’s words were a reminder of how hard he’s worked to get where he is while also serving as a prompt for how far he has to go.

“It was real cool experience, first of all,” Coleman said. “A big-name guy coming to talk to us; he’s just reminding us to stay focused and make sure our goals are straight, that if we want to play, we have to do the things we have to do to make it there.”

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