There has been a wall of silence surrounding Dajuan Coleman, a forgotten player that may become relevant shortly. Coleman had knee surgery midway through last year in January and missed the rest of the season. Knee troubles ended the junior’s season two years ago, too.
Coleman has started working out outside of the training pool, a big step in the big man’s recovery. He has been out of the pool for three weeks. While this is all great to hear, there is still no expected timetable for his return to game action.
This news is huge for Orange fans because the team is so shallow at the center position. If Dajuan returns, he doesn’t even have to live up to his original lofty expectations. A highly touted prospect, he was actually rated higher than Jerami Grant. Instead of being that high-powered scorer and defender that people were excited for, he just has to become a minutes-eater to make an impact, that’s it.
If Coleman can return from injury this year and provide the team with seven or eight points per game and some timely rebounds, his presence will be felt immediately. The Orange currently rotates Rakeem Christmas and Chinonso Obokoh at the center position. Christmas, the senior leader of this year’s team, has been prone to get into foul trouble early in games. Last season, coach Boeheim had the luxury of Baye Keita on the bench, but this season, he has just Obokoh, a redshirt who hasn’t seen in-game action yet.
In the Orange’s opening exhibition game, Obokoh played just three minutes. Christmas, after getting into early foul trouble, dominated the second half of the game. He got to the rim with ease and finished shots with a much softer touch than he has ever shown. Chris McCulough also saw some time in the middle of the zone.
With the team lacking depth at center, Coleman can become a huge asset off of the bench. When Christmas gets into foul trouble (which is inevitable) the Orange can rely on more than just a redshirt to step into the senior’s role.
Coleman’s game is extremely rusty right now, of course. Fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves; Coleman hasn’t even started basketball related practices yet. However, the big man is in great shape, having lost nearly 30 pounds over the offseason. The most important part about yesterday’s news is that there actually was news. Coleman’s recovery had been so quiet that people were beginning to wonder if he would ever come back. Now we know he’s on his way to recovery.
Posted: Jason Weingold