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Duke men's basketball 2020-21 player review: Henry Coleman III

<p>Coleman stepped up in a February matchup against North Carolina.</p>

Coleman stepped up in a February matchup against North Carolina.

As Duke men's basketball wraps up its season, the Blue Zone gives individual breakdowns of each player's season with comparisons to their pre-season projections. Read the previous player breakdowns here: Mike Buckmire, Patrick Tapé and Jaemyn Brakefield.

Henry Coleman III

Season breakdown: As expected, Coleman saw the court sparingly in his first season at Duke, reaching double-digit minutes just twice in 19 appearances. The first of these games came in a shootout loss to North Carolina in early February, in which the former four-star recruit stepped up to give the Blue Devils a boost of energy and defensive intensity that they otherwise lacked, especially with Matthew Hurt in foul trouble. While his four-point, two-rebound night would be his most productive outing of the regular season, head coach Mike Krzyzewski deployed Coleman in limited minutes as a matchup-specific rotation player from that point on.

In what little the Blue Devils saw of the Richmond, Va., native in 2020-21, Coleman displayed high upside as a switchable defender and brought a certain positionless nature that could help him see more of the court in future seasons in Durham. He still has a ways to go with the ball in his hands, but his energetic disposition would suggest that he could carve out a larger role for himself come next winter.

Results relative to expectations: It was always an uphill climb for Coleman, the 54th-ranked recruit in the 2020 class, to find playing time as the lowest-ranked member of a stacked freshman class that featured Jalen Johnson, Jaemyn Brakefield and Mark Williams as the top incoming frontcourt players. As such, it is difficult to be overly harsh toward a developing player who has not yet been expected to heavily contribute.

Rather, the young forward deserves praise for what he has done well with limited opportunities thus far in his Blue Devil career. In choosing Duke and accepting a smaller role—at least initially—Coleman’s first season as a Blue Devil was always about what is still to come. There is no guarantee of an enlarged role for the rising sophomore next season, but he has certainly met his admittedly modest expectations to this point.


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