Saturday, June 15, 2024

Taking flight

This year, familiar faces have returned to the hardwood for the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team, eager and hungry to start the season. However, one player the fans may not be accustomed is ready to have a breakout season, and his name is Zack Coleman.

For Coleman, his passion of the game as well as teamwork developed at a young age in his hometown of Putnam Valley.

It was here that he learned the value of being a selfless player, always looking to make a play for his teammates rather than himself.

In middle school, he recalls his coaches always picking him first. At the time he was not fully aware why they did this, but looking back on it now, Coleman realizes it was his size that set him apart from the rest.

Height must have not been the only characteristic of Zack that his coaches liked, as they decided to move him up the ranks to the junior varsity team while he was still in middle school.

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At a time when most players were learning the fundamentals of competitive basketball, Coleman was thrown into the mix of a much faster paced game.

“Getting moved up definitely gave me some ego as a kid,” Coleman said. “Not in a bad way, I think it just gave me more confidence in my game, and that helped me grow as a player.”

In one season alone, the 6-foot, 2-inch sophomore has grown in more ways than just his physical appearance, as he shadowed last years star point guard, Mike Mitchell.

It may just be a coincidence, but Mitchell led the SUNYAC conference in assists last year with 132, an aspect of the game that Coleman takes pride in. Being able to work closely with a fellow guard proved to be helpful to Coleman.

During this offseason, Coleman focused on getting bigger with countless hours in the gym. After playing for one season, he was aware of the physicality that college basketball offered. This adjustment caught the attention of head coach Tom Curle.

“Throughout all my years in coaching, Zack has grown more in one year than I have ever seen in any other player,” Curle said.

Curle has been with the program for 12 seasons, and during that time has won an impressive 214 games. He clearly knows what it takes to be a successful team in this league and knew Coleman would be a good addition.

When it came to recruiting Coleman to play here at SUNY Plattsburgh, Curle described it as a perfect fit.

Coleman fit the athletic nature that the team is accustomed to. It also helped that Plattsburgh offers a highly distinguished nursing program, the major Coleman is pursuing currently.

Coleman’s days are filled with intense hours of practice on the court as well as the every day challenges that being a nursing student presents.

Coleman strives for his best performance in whatever he does, including video games. When he has the time, he enjoys playing games such as FIFA and NBA 2K16.

Coleman is able to play as his favorite players and play in their shoes for moments at a time. One player he has grown to be especially fond of is Kyrie Irving, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, describing him as, “the nastiest point guard in the game.” Coleman tries to emulate some of Irving’s moves and according to his teammates he isn’t doing too bad.

“Zack has some of the best hops on the team,” senior forward Kyle Richardson said. “Once he takes flight, everyone’s in for a treat.”

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