The National Prep Showcase is always a nice place to get introduced to future college stars, and one of the best first impressions we had came from Providence commit Gerard Coleman (#65 Scout, #51 Rivals, #72 ESPN).
Not particularly big at 6-4, with a very narrow frame, Coleman doesn't jump off the page at you on first glance. He is a solid athlete, though, extremely quick off the dribble, and fairly explosive around the rim.
Where Coleman impresses you the most though is with his scoring instincts, aggressiveness and all-around feel for the game. He's an outstanding shot-creator, able to play the pick and roll the way few guards are capable of at this level, either to get to the rim or find teammates with heady drive and dish passes. Despite the fact that he's a high-level scorer, Coleman is not a selfish player in the least bit, as he displays both excellent court vision and the willingness and knowledge of how to operate in a team setting, always looking to make the extra pass.
What probably will get Providence fans most excited though is the slashing ability that Coleman displays. He has very nice ball-handling skills and a wide array of change of speeds and hesitation moves, being extremely aggressive looking to make things happen off the dribble and finding a great deal of success at this level. His perimeter jump-shot is still far too streaky (probably his biggest weakness) because of the awkward hitch he sports, but he shows intriguing shot-making ability from mid-range and probably should be able to figure out this part of his game in time if he's willing to put the work in.
Showing a frenetic energy level and constantly looking to make plays all over the floor, Coleman is a very active defender who displays great instincts and competitiveness. He came up with a number of blocks and steals in the game we took in, showing a real commitment to getting the job done, which is impressive considering his star status and the heavy load he's forced to shoulder offensively. Coleman will need to continue to play this way in college as he doesn't possess the best physical tools (size, length, strength).
It will be interesting to see how Coleman's game translates to the college level, particularly as he continues to fill out his frame, as he appeared to be one of the most complete players we watched in the three games in New Haven. His recruiting rankings don't back that up, though, leaving you to wonder if he's a little bit underrated right now. Only time will tell, and the truth will surely come out soon enough playing in the ultra-competitive Big East.