Feb. 28, 2012; Providence, RI, USA; Providence Friars guard Gerard Coleman (1) celebrates a basket during the second half against the Connecticut Huskies at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Providence defeated Connecticut 72-70. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE
"He really liked his visit out there," said BABC coach Leo Papile of his former player. "Gonzaga could be a top-5 team in the country this year and they really think they can make a run at the Final Four in a year when Gerard can play.
That quote from Gerard Coleman's AAU coach to Dan Ventura of the Boston Herald sums up the potential impact that Gerard Coleman could have during his time in a Gonzaga uniform. This is not to suggest that all of a sudden Gonzaga is a guarantee to play in the Final Four now that Coleman has committed, but instead hints at why his commitment could be such a big deal.
After Guy Landry-Edi graduates, there will be a natural hole at the SF position. While Kyle Dranginis could certainly play the position, it seems like the best fit for his skill set will be to play with the ball in the hands and the opportunity to create. That should allow for him to primarily play as a backup combo guard to Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. With Coleman available to play in 2013/14, he has the chance to step in right away at the SF position and make an immediate impact. With both Pangos and GBJ excellent at pushing the ball in transition, Coleman should thrive on the wing in transition. He will also give Gonzaga a player on the wing that can break his guy down off the dribble and get to the rim, which should fit excellent with a backcourt that can shoot the ball as well as the one GU has.Coleman also should be a huge threat defensively and on the glass. Due to his length and athleticism, he is an excellent rebounder from the perimeter. Coleman averaged 5 rebounds per game last season, which ranked second on the team at Providence, and would have been good for third at Gonzaga last season. It's not very often that a guy on the perimeter can rebound like that, but the impact is significant. This gives you a natural ball-handler and creator who can start a fastbreak or initiate the offense in a secondary break. Defensively, the combination of GBJ and Gerard will give Gonzaga the best perimeter defensive combo it has had. With the strides that GU made defensively this past season, it's exciting to think about what the future could be with Coleman and GBJ together.
The other impact that this commitment will have is on recruiting. Had Coleman gone elsewhere, Gonzaga would have had a glaring hole on the wing, and probably would have been forced to bring in two guys on the perimeter in 2013. This could have led to a reach on a JC guy or high-school prospect. With Coleman in the fold, the coaching staff can really focus on high-priority prospects. There isn't necessarily the desperation to bring in a guy on the wing that would have existed had Coleman gone elsewhere, so now the focus is on bringing in a guy that can really thrive in the system. If none of the top options decide to come to Gonzaga, you already have the foundation of Coleman and Dranginis in place.