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Duke men's basketball 2020-2021 player preview: Henry Coleman III

The Virginia native will look to bring energy off the bench.
The Virginia native will look to bring energy off the bench.

As the calendar shifts to November, it is becoming apparent that   basketball season is on the horizon. That means that it is time for our   player previews of every member of Duke men's basketball. Read the   previous previews: Mike Buckmire, Michael Savarino, Kennan Worthington and Jaemyn Brakefield.

Henry Coleman III

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-foot-7

Position: Forward

Last year’s statline: N/A

Game breakdown: Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Henry Coleman III rounds out Duke’s impressive freshman class as the 52nd ranked prospect nationally and a top-ten recruit at his position. Coleman excels in many aspects of the game, as evidenced by his 22.8/12.8/3.4 statline in his final year at the high school level, but he truly makes his living at the rim as a strong finisher and excellent rebounder. While his range is still developing, he has shown promise in the midrange that, when polished, could provide a handsome compliment to his defensive versatility as a true combo forward.

Much of what Coleman brings to the floor goes beyond the box score: he displays a high level of energy that could provide any team with a spark when needed, and his toughness often makes it hard to believe that he is not the biggest player on the court. This combination of determination and skill is what brought Coleman to Durham, and it is sure to serve him well in his time with the Blue Devils.

Role on the team: As part of a packed frontcourt led by sophomore Matthew Hurt and featuring fellow freshmen Jalen Johnson and Jaemyn Brakefield, Coleman is, perhaps, the strangest player to project this year. With Hurt the likely starter at power forward, conventional knowledge would lead one to believe that Coleman could struggle to find playing time early on. But a roster well-suited for small ball makes the freshman an intriguing option at the four and an exciting, unexpected dark horse at center.

Yet for all the ways in which head coach Mike Krzyzewski could elect to utilize Coleman this coming season, all signs point towards a smaller role for the Virginia native. Coleman knew when he chose Duke that he would be asked to play a smaller role early on, but his contagious energy on the court has him well-positioned to star in that very role. In what could be an eerily quiet Cameron Indoor Stadium this winter, Coleman figures to provide a spark that could be hard to come by, and he may very well fight his way into the hearts of Blue Devil fans in the process.  

NBA comparison: As a tough, energetic, positionless big man who frequents the boards and possesses a respectable three-point stroke, Paul Millsap is a wonderful example of what Coleman is looking to become. While the aging veteran made four All-Star appearances in as many years with the Atlanta Hawks, he has more often than not been asked to star in his role by taking on tough defensive assignments, coming off the bench and switching across positions. He has proven a valuable asset to the Denver Nuggets in recent years, and serves as a great blueprint as to how Duke’s coaching staff can effectively utilize the exciting Coleman in his first season with the blue and white.

Projected stats: 3.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 9.1 MPG

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