Gonzaga took care of New Mexico State on Saturday, beating the Aggies 80 to 68. Most of the Zags guards had a hard time scoring especially early, however Gerard Coleman came to play and had himself a day. Coleman finished the game with 21 points, on 10 of 19 shooting, his best performance thus far as a Zag.
Coleman has had an up and down season for the Zags, but could this game be what gets him going?
Coleman is averaging 11 points per game on the season. He has put up a few solid games in which he scored 15 against Bryant, 16 against Colorado State, 19 against Chaminade, and 14 against Coppin State. While the four other games on the season he managed to score 7 or less.
His game is centered on driving to the lane, and it was on full display against New Mexico State. The Aggies decided to give Coleman a great deal of space on the perimeter, which allowed him to get to the basket at ease.
Coleman has only attempted 4 three pointers on the season, and has yet to make one. Most team’s strategies on defending him is letting him have the three point shot, while packing the middle when he drives.
New Mexico State tried this strategy, but was ineffective because they gave him too much space. They allowed Coleman to get in the lane and did not have the weak side help to stop him.
They also let him get out in transition, which lead to several dunks and easy layups. The question remains, is this play the start of a trend for Coleman? Will he be able to provide the Zags a spark off the bench each and every game, or even work his way into the starting lineup?
I don’t think so. Coleman has the big east style of play that he had at Providence, and while a times it allows him to make some sick moves, the lack of shooting and turnovers will hurt his game and playing time.
Against Oakland and Washington State, he had a total of 5 turnovers. Coleman gets going with the ball and does not always secure it and is out of control. These turnovers usually get him benched by Coach Few.
Against Dayton, they had a specific game plan against him by not allowing him to drive and get to the basket that limited his time on the floor.
The good thing for Coleman is that having two very good sharpshooters in Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., he does not need to shoot the outside shot. He is a different type of guard for the Zags that gives them a different element. However, Coleman is not much off a distributor with only 8 assists on the year. He has not shown the real capability of finding the opener shooter when he penetrates the lane.
If Coleman can find ways to consistently score, while being able to distribute and not turn over the ball, then he has the possibility to be a spark off the bench or even crack the starting lineup.
As of right now I just don’t see it. Coleman is strict driver who puts his head down and tries to get to the rim. He shows flashes of brilliance, but also shows flashes where his play is out of control.
It is early in the season, and I hope I am wrong about Coleman. He will have games this season where he puts up 20 points, but their will be others where he will put up a goose egg. Hopefully he can find a consistent style and be that explosive threat off the bench, or even the third starting guard.
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