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Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Henry Coleman III provides production inside & leadership for A&M

June 30, 2023

In the first three installments of my offseason basketball spotlight series, we looked at the strength of the starting backcourt of First-Team All-SEC point guard Wade Taylor IV, Second-Team All-Conference selection Tyrece Radford, and the potential rise of five-star prospect Manny Obaseki at the third guard position.

I believe the overall performance of these three perimeter positions will ultimately dictate the direction of the 2022-2023 season.

However, the SEC is a physical league, and teams who don’t have the physicality and toughness down low will struggle throughout a brutal 18-game conference schedule.

Luckily for the Aggies, the team returns two experienced upperclassmen with a track record of success.

More importantly, we know the frontcourt of Henry Coleman III and Julius Marble II will be consistent and rock solid (no pun intended… OK, maybe a little).

Coleman and Marble produced on the court night after night and showed durability by starting a combined 59 games and averaging just under 50 minutes per contest.

The staff knows they will get solid, consistent effort and production in the paint, and it starts with senior veteran Henry Coleman III, our player spotlight for the week.

Coleman is solid in almost every phase of the game. He’s durable, and he plays with the emotion and passion demanded by the Texas A&M head coach.

I know fans are frustrated with the team hopping that has become prevalent in college basketball, and I understand and feel that frustration as well. However, there are good reasons to utilize the transfer portal, and there are tremendous outcomes in some cases when a player changes teams, schools and the culture of the team environment.

Henry Coleman III is a perfect example.

He received sparse playing time at Duke on a roster stuffed with five-star prospects and future NBA stars. It’s easy to see why. Coleman just didn’t fit the elite athleticism, high-potential mold at Duke. You have to wonder how he landed there in the first place. Coleman is a very talented and skilled basketball player, yet he lacks the length and wingspan to be a future first-round draft pick and tear up the ACC competition along the way.

Still, he does fit perfectly into what Buzz Williams looks for in a player, on the court and in the locker room. Coleman is solid in almost every phase of the game. He’s durable, and he plays with the emotion and passion demanded by the Texas A&M head coach.

His transfer to College Station has paid long-term dividends for both the Aggie basketball program and Coleman as well. That’s when the portal becomes an asset.

By The Numbers

Let’s compare Coleman’s performances from his first two seasons in Aggieland along with his 2022-2023 team ranking in each of these statistical rankings.

Category 2021-2022 2022-2023 Team Rank
Points/Game 11.0 9.0 5th
Field Goal Percentage 56.1% 53.2% 1st
Free Throws 109 - 68.6% 80 - 70.8% 3rd
Rebounds/Game 6.2 5.7 1st
Blocks 16 4 6th
Steals 50 30 2nd
Turnovers 40 53 3rd
Minutes/Game 26.8 27.0 4th

Scouting Report

Coleman is a blue collar player in the paint.

He’s not someone you expect to take over a game or carry the team on his back. He’s not a guy you feed in the post that can get you a critical basket in the half-court.

Then again, the Aggies don’t need that type of presence in the paint.

For one, A&M has an equally talented big man — Julius Marble II — at the other forward position down low. Second, the Aggie backcourt is the main feature of this Maroon show. With Taylor and Radford, you don’t need to run the half-court offense through Coleman to generate offense.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Coleman appeared in all 34 games his junior season, tallying 30 starts.

What Coleman gives this team is an athletic, undersized big man with good speed and quickness to run Williams’ position-less defense and guard on the perimeter off ball screens and switches. He uses that same quickness to create loose ball turnovers on the defensive end. He finished second on the team in 2023 with 30 steals. Once he creates those loose ball turnovers, he’s adept for a big man to run the floor in transition and finish a fast break opportunity.

The 6-foot-7 senior is limited in his ability to score with his back to the basket in the half-court. He can back his man down to the basket at times, but he doesn’t have a fluid, go-to move to beat his man in the post. He’ll occasionally hit the mid-range jumper, but that’s not where his value resides on the offensive end.

His value is his intensity and energy to do the physical dirty work around the basket, grabbing offensive boards, and he’s very efficient on putbacks when he does secure the rebound off the offensive glass. That’s reflected in his team-leading field goal percentage of 53.2 percent. He also gets to the charity stripe off those follow-ups, and he continues to improve at the line shooting a respectable 70.8 percent. More importantly, Coleman gets to the line quite a bit, finishing third on last year’s squad in free throws made behind SEC leaders Taylor and Radford.

His athleticism and quickness allow him to be effective setting high post screens away from the basket that free up the guards to create off the dribble.

He’s a player that is solid in most facets of the game and not overly flashy or dominant, but Coleman also gives the team consistent energy, effort and production night in and night out. Buzz Williams will take that in every single game of the 2023-2024 season, given the weapons and resources at the other positions.

With all of that, I still haven’t mentioned Coleman’s most important role on next year’s team. I’ll save that for the team success portion of this analysis.

2023-2024 Areas For Improvement

How does a blue-collar guy who does a little bit of everything on the court get better in his senior season?

Interestingly enough, if you look at the statistical comparison of his first two seasons in Aggieland, Coleman’s numbers regressed to some degree. Some of that is easily explained in the form of another quality presence in the paint (Marble) that siphoned off some of his offensive production.

It wasn’t a significant drop. Points per game dropped from 11.0 to 9.0. His average rebounds per game dipped slightly from 6.2 to 5.7, although Coleman was still tied with Dexter Dennis for the team lead in 2023. He only had four blocks the entire season, which is extraordinarily low for a post, but that’s never been his strength, given his undersized stature and average vertical leap.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Against Arkansas, Coleman became one of four players to score an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double at Texas A&M.

Sure, it would be nice for Coleman to improve those statistical categories and get back up to his 2022 production, but that’s not critical to the overall success of next year’s team.

There are two areas where Coleman can improve that will make the most difference in 2023.

First, he needs to reduce his turnovers. He was third on the team with 53, which is way too high for a big man. Coleman doesn’t have large hands for a big guy, and he does get the ball stripped or knocked out of his control at times in the paint surrounded by traffic.

Second, while he concluded the 2023 campaign as the third-leading free-throw shooter with 80 makes, that’s still down from his 2022 season total of 109 despite a higher free-throw percentage. If the senior from Richmond, Virginia, can get that free throw total over 100, you have to like A&M’s chances to make some noise in 2023-2024.

You only have to look at the end of last season to see the importance of Coleman getting to the free-throw line. In the final two losses of the season to Alabama in the SEC Championship game and Penn State in the NCAA Tournament, he did not go to the free-throw line, and he scored a grand total of four points.

For Coleman to be effective on the offensive end, he needs to be productive on the offensive glass and get to the charity stripe.

Importance For 2023-2024 Team Success

With all of that analysis and breakdown of his game on the court, Coleman’s most critical role in 2023-2024 will be that of mentor, leader and the emotional engine of this team.

The senior has embraced every aspect of Buzz Williams’ culture and philosophy in his two years in College Station. Players gravitate to him in team huddles and during dead-ball situations. His fiery emotion is addictive, and he’s certainly well-respected by his teammates and the coaching staff. It’s one reason why Coleman seems to be the player out in front of the media after a loss and called upon to provide comments in postseason tournaments. He shoots straight and doesn’t make excuses, and is critical of his own play in the media.

He’s as likable a player as any who has worn the Maroon & White, and he’s a pretty good player to boot. He has also embraced the university and the culture of Texas A&M University. He has also become the face of Aggie athletics, featuring in many civic and promotional events, and he recently represented Texas A&M at the SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Council in Birmingham.

I’m not trying to convince you that Coleman’s participation in a leadership council this summer will make him a better player, but it does reflect his position of leadership on this Texas A&M basketball team. He’ll be the guy other players will look to in huddles during critical situations.

From that aspect alone, Coleman will make this team better… and as I’ve shown in this piece, he’s a pretty valuable post-player as well.

Discussion from...

Henry Coleman III provides production inside & leadership for A&M

2,530 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by Rongagin71
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Coleman was a disappointment on the whole last year. He looked like he took a step back. He looked like an animal in that second half vs Arkansas in SEC tournament, but those type of performances seemed to be a rare occurrence. Somebody on this board told me that they were told he battled through an injury most of the year. That would explain like the step back in athleticism I think he showed this past season. Hopefully he has a healthy season and bounces back better.
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I'd like to see what Coleman's stats look like after a healthy senior season; a significant improvement is possible.
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