M-S' Grant Coleman set for breakout season

Grant Coleman had a strong sophomore year for Mahomet-Seymour, and the numbers back up that statement.

Cory Noe had all the attention last year, and Coleman made opponents pay by splashing 22 three-pointers and averaging 10.9 points per game. The 6-foot-5 forward shot over 70 percent from the free throw line and over 54 percent from the field.

But even after a breakout sophomore year, Coleman didn't quit working, and he's added even more to his game. Last year, he couldn't dunk. Now, Coleman might throw down a windmill or two.

It's not just his bounce that's improved. He's become a more well-rounded ball handler, and he's improved his shooting even more. For the past month and a half, Coleman has been getting a workout in before and after school.

"In the morning, I shoot about 500 shots," Coleman said. "After school, I have open gyms and conditioning after that. So, I'd say probably like 800 shots a day."

You shoot 800 shots a day, you're going to get better. No doubt about that.

An improved Coleman should help a ton with the loss of Noe (a 1,600-point career scorer) and Noah Benedict (multi-year starter), as the Bulldogs try to win another regional championship.

Without Benedict and Noe, the spotlight shifts to Coleman, and he's ready to roll with the opportunity.

"I'm used to it," Coleman said. "I've had a lot of big games in the past in AAU (Amateur Athletic Union). I feel like I handle the pressure well, it doesn't get to me that much. We haveother aspects on the team that can score, too. They've been working on their game a lot."

Coleman has the unique ability to score at all three levels. Coleman missed 11 games last year due to a bad ankle injury, but he still averaged over one long-range bomb per game. Coleman can score in the midrange and at (or above) the rim.

"I think I'm more of a stretch four," Coleman said. "I can dribble. I can handle it a little bit. I can put the ball on the floor and score and shoot threes. And then I can post up more, too.

"I got a few moves in the post that can help me score."

Coleman's game really elevated thanks to time on the AAU circuit with Indiana Elite. Playing against the top competition in the country is a big-time benefit.

"I started playing with Indiana Elite freshman year," Coleman said. "Me being guarded by other top competition really helped me a lot. We ended up being really good, and scouts started to come and look at us."

Coleman is currently being recruited by Toledo and Indiana Wesleyan.

"(Toledo) was very beautiful," Coleman said. "Had a visit down there. It was insane. I've never seen anything like it."

New M-S head coach Ryan Bosch has clicked with Coleman and has given him a longer leash.

"Coach Bosch is like in his 30s, so he gets the slang and he knows how to talk to us and all that, and I have gotten really comfortable with him," Coleman said. "I have more freedom with Bosch. Since I was a younger kid who hadn't proved myself yet, I didn't have the freedoms that I wanted last year. Since Bosch has seen me play and knows what I can do, he's letting me showcase my abilities a lot more."

The Bulldogs will have their first practice on Monday, and Coleman is anxiously awaiting tipping off the season.

"Our team has really good chemistry. We've been playing with each other since seventh grade. We work together so well. I'm so excited for this season."

Coaches in the Apollo Conference breathed a sigh of relief once Noe and Benedict played their last game. But Coleman has taken a huge step forward with his all-around game, and he's going to be a matchup nightmare.

"I don't have to just rely on three-point shots now," Coleman said. "If people are locking me down outside, I can go post them up and still score."

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