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DaJuan Coleman Lives in Shadow of Famous Namesake

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DaJuan Coleman is a five-star power forward from the suburbs of Syracuse, NY, where a talented player with the same last name and position became a college star. But Derrick and DaJuan Coleman aren’t related. Trust us.

The 6-foot-8 Coleman is the 18th overall prospect - fifth overall at his position - in the class of 2012, according to Rivals.com.  He’s a skilled low-post player with good hands and a soft touch around the basket. He’s also a wide load at a hefty 280 pounds.

That sounds a bit like Derrick Coleman, one of the greatest players in the history of the Syracuse Orange. Coleman went on to have a 15-year NBA career with four different teams.

Since DaJuan is old enough to be the son of the elder Coleman, 44, many people have made the leap. In fact, the younger Coleman said most people are shocked to find out the two aren’t related.

“People don’t ask if he’s my father, they just assume he is,” Coleman told ESPN Rise last year.

“I was like, ‘That’s not my father,’ and they’re like, ‘Yes it is,’ When I told them it really wasn’t, they were like, ‘You don’t have to be ashamed.’”

The shame, of course, stems from Derrick Coleman’s unfulfilled promise. Despite being one of the most-talented frontcourt players ever to grace the hardwood, he never quite put it all together.

A gifted scorer with a sweet outside stroke, the elder Coleman’s name became synonymous with the stereotype of the overpaid, under-performing NBA player that plagued the league’s image in the 1990s. He battled his weight and substance abuse, while being known for a lack of work ethic.

No wonder DaJuan Coleman is quick to correct those who think the two are related.

On the court, though, the younger Coleman is proving that he will assert himself. He has been described as one of the strongest players in high school basketball.

“He’s a monster in the paint,” Demetrius Mitchell, Coleman’s teammate at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, told ESPN Rise. “Just give him the ball and watch him go.”

Many of the top schools around the country would like the ability to do so. Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and, of course, Syracuse are among those interested in his services.

Coleman’s high school gym is located just 15 minutes away from the the ‘Cuse’s Carrier Dome, where the elder Coleman’s jersey hangs in the rafters.

But before he can star in the Big East - or anywhere else - Coleman will have to polish his game. He has played organized basketball for just five years, beginning when he was in seventh grade.

According to ESPN Rise, he played both varsity basketball and football at Fowler High School in Syracuse despite only being in eighth grade. In fact, football was the bruising 280-pounder’s sport of choice until he figured out that he had a spot on the hardwood.

After Coleman’s brother was shot in his neighborhood, Coleman then transferred to Jamesville-DeWitt, where he joined a decorated squad for his freshman season. Coleman teamed with Brandon Triche (Syracuse) and Alshwan Hymes (Canisius).

While it’s clear Coleman has played second fiddle in the past - at least, while Triche and Hymes were around - the talented power forward has made himself a go-to player with a football player’s ferociousness.

Consider: He averaged 11.6 points and 10.7 rebounds as a freshman and improved to 18.1 and 13.1 as a sophomore. His sterling junior year then put him on the radar of every elite program in the nation after averaging a ridiculous 24 PPG and 14 RPG, for which he was named Central New York Player of the Year.

Who knows? One day another Coleman jerseys might be hanging from the Carrier Dome rafters.

Cue the Tupac:

 
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