With his stellar play during the state tournament run for the Cathedral High School basketball team, Jalen Coleman left little doubt that he is one of the top sophomore prospects in the Midwest.
The 6-3 Coleman already had a reputation as a guard who could get it done offensively, especially with his lethal outside shot. During Cathedral's march to the Class 4A championship game, with two point guards suspended, Coleman also became the team's primary ballhandler.
"I think it shows the versatility in his game," Cathedral coach Andy Fagan said. "All year he played off the ball and then, with one game left in the regular season, he shifted to the ball. The teams we played tried to pressure the ball, and he did a tremendous job. He went from the guy who was trying to finish everything to being the facilitator."
Not that Coleman is a finished product, which he's the first to admit. He'd like to improve his ballhandling to the point he could play either guard spot in college and develop a couple of "go-to" moves when isolated on the wing.
"He's so good from (the 3-point line)," Fagan said, "but he's also a willing passer. When people are running at him, he's going to be unselfish and make the extra pass. That makes him tough to guard."
Coleman, who is ranked No. 35 nationally in his class by Rivals.com, was offered a scholarship by Indiana and Purdue before his freshman season at Cathedral. Illinois, Ohio State, Cincinnati and Notre Dame have offered, and Michigan, Michigan State and Butler offers could be coming in June.
But Coleman's recruitment could expand even further. While Providence and Clemson have offered, blueblood national programs such as Kansas and Duke have been in contact. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski saw Coleman at the City tournament championship in January while recruiting Tech's Trey Lyles and told Fagan he would track Coleman through the summer.
"North Carolina State and Texas have also been in contact," Coleman said. "A lot of schools. But also the ones like Michigan State, IU and Purdue have been coming in and staying in contact. Michigan and Michigan State have said they are looking forward to having me up there as soon as possible and doing something, which could be an offer."
Coleman plans to visit Michigan State later this month and Michigan on June 1.
"I'm looking for a family-type atmosphere," Coleman said of his priority in finding a school, "and a coaching staff I can talk to and be real with me about what I need to work on and about family problems or anything."
Coleman averaged a team-leading 14.6 points a game as a sophomore at Cathedral, shooting 46 percent from the 3-point line. He's playing this spring and summer with Indiana Elite, a team that also includes East Chicago Central guard Hyron Edwards, another highly touted guard in the sophomore class.
"It's been good playing with him," Coleman said. "Chemistry-wise off the court, it's gone real well. On the court, we still need to figure out some things as far as roles and playing together. That's not just me and Hyron, that's the whole team. We have one of the best teams around, but if we're not playing like a team, our record's not going to show that."
The fact that Coleman isn't afraid to voice his opinion falls in line with the progress Fagan saw from him his freshman to sophomore season.
"You saw him this year talking to teammates," Fagan said. "It wasn't just him listening to the older guys. That's how it was as a freshman. That's how it should be as a freshman. His leadership really increased, especially when we lost a couple guys late in the season."