2010-01-21 / Sports

Air Jordan

Calabasas shooting guard is Marmonte’s most explosive player
By Eliav Appelbaum eliav@theacorn.com

COME FLY WITH ME—Calabasas High senior Jordan Coleman is averaging 20.6 points per game for the Coyotes. With Coleman leading the pack, CHS has posted a 17-2 record, 7-0 in league. JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers COME FLY WITH ME—Calabasas High senior Jordan Coleman is averaging 20.6 points per game for the Coyotes. With Coleman leading the pack, CHS has posted a 17-2 record, 7-0 in league. JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers This was Jordan Coleman’s moment, and he was going to make sure everyone in the building knew it, too.

In the opening minutes of the Calabasas High boys’ basketball game at Thousand Oaks on Jan. 8, Coleman threw down a ferocious dunk on the reigning Marmonte League most valuable player, Alex Tiffin.

By turning Tiffin into poster fodder, the message was loud and clear.

“We’re here to play and Calabasas is for real,” said Coyote teammate Josh Langer of Coleman’s monumental slam.

Coleman, who shares a name with another high flyer—some guy named Michael Jordan— doesn’t share the Air Jordan moniker. Instead, teammates and coaches call Coleman “J Smoove,” because basketball comes naturally to the soft-spoken senior guard.

Jordan Coleman Jordan Coleman The Coyote can do anything on the court.

He can slice and dice through the lane with the ease of Kevin Durant, launch 3-pointers with the polished accuracy of Omri Casspi and pry steals like a sticky-fingered Rajon Rando.

And the senior can take over games whenever he wants to, as evidenced by his 38-point explosion on only 17 field-goal attempts in the victory over TOHS.

“He’s doing it all,” Calabasas head coach Jon Palarz said. “He’s really playing very, very well.”

Nobody has been able to stop Calabasas lately, at least not when Coleman’s on the court.

Coleman suffered a bloody nose in the fourth quarter of a 68-64 loss against Valencia on Dec. 29. The Coyotes couldn’t find their rhythm with Coleman trying in vain to stop the bleeding from the bench. He returned with only 30 seconds remaining.

Calabasas (17-2 overall, 7-0 in the Marmonte) hasn’t lost since that game and is alone in first place in the Marmonte League.

If Coleman actually played for most of the pivotal moments of that fourth quarter, then the Coyotes would likely be cruising on a 12-game winning streak.

The guard averages 20.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 1.9 assists per game.

“He’s stepped up,” Palarz said. “He’s doing things that are inspirational. He’s making the most of his potential right now. He’s improved a lot, and if he continues to improve—I know it’s a cliché—the sky’s the limit.”

It is hard to believe Coleman, who said he considers himself a late bloomer, was 5-foot-8 and 110 pounds as a freshman.

When he started playing the sport frequently in the fifth grade, Coleman used a push shot with both palms on the ball. He fixed his shot mechanics two years later, playing after school on a portable hoop in his front yard.

The Coyote sprouted to 6 feet as a sophomore, but made his biggest on-court splash between his junior and senior seasons.

“I felt I got a lot better in the summer with my overall game— dribbling, shooting, getting stronger and bigger,” Coleman said. “I was in the weight room every day or every other day in the (offseason).

“I’m always trying to improve. As much as I did last year, I could still work on everything.”

Coleman considered himself more of a role player last season to Evan Smith, now at USC.

This year, the 6-foot-4, 175-pound senior has not only honed his skills, but Calabasas has grown up around him.

“Winning helps with everything else,” the 17-year-old combo guard said. “Last year we didn’t win as much. It wasn’t as fun.”

Teammates marvel at Coleman’s work ethic and focus.

“A lot of great players, it goes to their head,” Langer said.

“Coleman, he’s a great guy on and off the court. Everyone loves him at the school. He comes to work hard at practice. He doesn’t let success get to his head, and he keeps trying to get better.”

Coleman is focused on the rest of this season and beyond.

The senior wants CHS to go undefeated in league and make a deep run into the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoffs.

Next season, Coleman will suit up for the Rainbow Warriors at the University of Hawaii.

The Honolulu-based school was one of four institutions to offer Coleman a scholarship, along with Boise State, the University of Portland and Southern Utah.

Coleman visited Hawaii on an 85-degree day in October, hung out on the beach and cruised on a standing paddleboard in the Pacific Ocean.

“I could have waited and got more offers, but I felt good about going to Hawaii,” said Coleman, who has played pickup games with Washington Wizard and former USC Trojan Nick Young and former NBA star Mark Jackson.

“I feel I could play right away. (Hawaii assistant Eran Ganot) recruited me hard. Hawaii’s the school I liked the best.”

Coleman comes from an athletic family.

His brother, Justin, runs track at Washington. Sisters Tomi and Toya were on the track squad at Agoura. His father, Hugh, and stepmother, Tanya, are both FBI agents. Hugh played rugby at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

This late bloomer certainly has the attention of the Marmonte. Next, it’s the world’s turn to find out about Jordan Coleman.

“I feel people don’t know about me now,” Coleman said. “Hopefully I can play in the NBA or play overseas. I want to do it as long as I can.”

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