Tré Coleman is blooming in its first season with Wolf Pack

In recent years, fans in Nevada got used to finding a fan favorite who wore the number 14 and wore dreadlocks.

From 2015-20, that player was Lindsey Drew, who started as a true newbie to Nevada and was the backbone of Eric Musselman’s successful wolf pack roster. There’s a new number 14 in town, but he too starts off as a freshman with a nearly identical hairstyle to Drew while being considered a staple player for the Steve Alford era.

That player is Tré Coleman, the first full-time newcomer to the wolf pack since Drew and Cam Oliver half a decade ago. And while Alford is building his roster with high-profile transfers like Grant Sherfield, Desmond Cambridge and Warren Washington, Coleman is a prep piece that will play a huge role in trying to get the wolf pack back to the top of Mountain West and the NCAA -Competition.

This week’s quest starts at the Mountain West tournament on Thursday, though Coleman as a rookie who has already established himself as an Impact College player will face problems going forward.

“It was a lot of fun,” Coleman said in last week’s Wolf Pack All Access. “Every day I feel like I’m getting better and every day I feel like they are teaching me new things, from the coaching staff to the players. They teach me a lot and I like to take in all that knowledge . “

Coleman is the first recruit Alford has ripped from his home of since he was hired by the Wolf Pack in April 2019. Alford has an affinity for Hoosier State, a place where he starred in high school before winning a national title for Indiana in 1987. Alford was checking out a tournament in two summers ago when he became aware of Coleman .

“It was before my senior year, my junior year summer,” said Coleman. “I played with my high school. Right before the start of the year, we’re going to go to different colleges and play tournaments. We had a tournament in Indianapolis and Nevada came out and saw me there and then they offered me. Then they did it offered. ” I have heard about you. “

Shortly thereafter, Alford visited one of Coleman’s offices at Jeffersonville High and an official visit to Nevada was established. Coleman always imagined playing in college on the west coast and was sold immediately after qualifying for the wolf pack upon landing in Reno.

“When I was in eighth grade, my sophomore year at AAU, traveling and all, I always knew I wanted to go to school in the west because I like it a lot better here,” said Coleman, adding, that the weather and the mountainous landscape piqued his interest in playing in the west. “When Nevada offered me, I automatically wanted to pay a visit to see how it was. They all had Indiana ties and all of them and it fitted well.”

In addition to being from Indiana, Alford is the Wolf Pack’s assistant head coach, Craig Neal. Alford, Neal, and Coleman all received Indiana All-Star Seniors, which is a huge honor in the basketball-mad state.

“It’s a great honor,” said Coleman. “When you get into high school that’s what you really aim for based on how much you love the game and in your senior year you really want to be on that . Not a lot of people get selected. It’s like 13 of the Senior citizens.” It was a really big achievement for me because I really wanted my jersey to be hung on my school. “

How much does Indiana like basketball? Alford played at New Castle High, which is in a parish of about 20,000 people but had a basketball gym with a capacity of 9,325 people, almost the size of the Lawlor Center. The Coleman arena played at Jeffersonville High with 5,306 seats.

“If you ever go there and go to a high school game, no matter how big the is, you will always see a crowd because that’s what people love to do,” Coleman said. “No matter how old you are, they always enjoy watching high school basketball. It’s really big out there and there’s not a lot to do, so people like to do it.”

Those Indiana roots helped bond Coleman and his wolf pack trainers. The freshman joked that if he missed a shot, Alford will playfully spoil him by saying something like, “Indiana players know how to shoot.” It goes beyond the shooting form.

“In practice and stuff like that, if I do something wrong, he’ll say I’m from ‘across the river’,” Coleman said. “And across the river is Louisville. And he’ll say, ‘You’re playing like Louisville, not Indiana.’ If I’m not in a defensive stance, he’ll say the same thing. He just loves making those Indiana jokes. “

That basketball fanaticism in Indiana has helped Coleman make the smoothest transition among wolfpack newbies this season. Coleman is a 6-foot-7 winger and is third in the wolf pack for the season. His 25.9 minutes per game only lands behind Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, both all-MW picks. He averages 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 43 percent off the field, 37.9 percent of which from three. This is an impressive brand considering Coleman played much of his prep career as a post player.

Alford raved about Coleman’s defensive intensity, which stood out in high school. While most players try to distinguish themselves on offense, Coleman has long been focused on defense. In fact, early this season Coleman may have been a little too focused on defense and often shy away from having an impact on offense. But he’s averaged 8.2 points per game in the last 10 competitions, more than double the 4.0 points per game he got in his first 14 games. He has lost 18 3-point points in his last 10 games after losing just seven points in his first 14.

Coleman credited Sherfield and Cambridge with instilling confidence in him to be more aggressive on the offensive.

“They helped me a lot, kept my confidence and told me to shoot it,” said Coleman.

Alford has been impressed with Coleman’s offensive improvements over the past few weeks and raves about the 19-year-old’s potential.

“As he learns the college game and all about it, I think he will be an elite defender in the mountainside and across the country,” said Alford. “And you will see his offense evolve over time. He has all the qualifications and good fundamentals as a marksman. His catch point is an evolving process that helps him drive and we are working on his board game we want see how we improve. “

Coleman, the youngest of four brothers, grew up in a basketball family with a goal to play the Division I college ball, which first formed in elementary school. While this has been a difficult season with unique challenges due to -19 restrictions and regulations, Coleman in silver and blue has done well. And his goals for the future are simple.

“I want to go to the NCAA tournament,” said Coleman, “and I want to win big.”

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