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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Fresh start, courtside-tailored

Photo by Courtesy of Kate Luffman/Texas A&M Athletics

Duke transfer, Henry Coleman III looks for new opportunity for growth and development under head coach Buzz Williams and Texas A&M’s basketball program. 

Henry Coleman III, a former 4-star forward out of Trinity Episcopal School in Virginia, committed to Duke in the fall of 2019 with hopes of competing at a high level for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.
But Coleman’s freshman season didn’t go as planned, appearing in 19 out of 24 games and averaging five minutes of playing time per game. Coleman said he took his position on the roster as an experience from which he could learn.
“[I was] under probably the best basketball coach ever on the men’s side,” Coleman said. “I learned a ton on and off the court, especially being a part of [Duke’s] program.”
Coleman’s mother, Cynthia, said despite all the struggles, Henry stayed engaged due to his commitment to Duke for the entirety of his freshman season. She said this was the result of Henry being raised to always be loyal, even if the circumstances are difficult.
“It didn’t go as planned, but I think what we have always taught Henry and our younger son is that, even when things don’t go as planned, [they] made a commitment,” Cynthia said. “He stuck with his commitment to Duke and continued to work hard.”
After the season, Coleman decided to put his name in the transfer portal because he wanted to do what was best for his basketball career. One of the main teams interested in him was Texas A&M. Coleman said he was previously recruited by A&M coach Buzz Williams while Williams was coaching at Virginia Tech, and it helped that he already had familiarity with the coaching staff.
“I want to be a part of coach Buzz’s culture,” Coleman said. “He’s somebody that I’ve known for a while. He recruited me at Virginia Tech, so I know the staff a little bit … I kind of knew what I was stepping into.”
A&M assistant coach Lyle Wolf said A&M contacted Coleman as soon as he put his name into the transfer portal. The two parties already knew each other, speeding up the process of getting Coleman to Reed Arena.
“When [Henry] hit the transfer portal, we called immediately,” Wolf said. “Good thing about that process is that they already know us and we know them, so we were able to get to the meat and potatoes of the conversation a lot quicker.”
Henry’s father, Hank, a former football player and team captain at Virginia Tech, said though the entire transfer process took only about two weeks, it was still a stressful time.
“Henry didn’t want it to linger on,” Hank said. “He was just anxious to get back onto the court, and wherever he ended up, he wanted to just really embrace [it] and get to work. We went through a two-week process, and boy it was some long days. [It was] pretty intense, and we had schools everywhere from the east coast and west coast. [There were] a lot of Zoom calls and late nights.”
Coleman’s decision to transfer came down to two schools: Stanford and A&M. He ultimately decided College Station would be the best place for him to continue his basketball career.
“Stanford is an unbelievable place,” Coleman said. “Palo Alto is a different beast in itself, but [A&M] was the right spot, hopefully, and I’m feeling confident in my decision.”
Hank said he remembers wishing in 2019 Williams hadn’t left Virginia Tech’s head coaching job because they were impressed with his recruitment of Coleman two years ago.
“I would say we were disappointed when coach Buzz left Virginia Tech because he did a great job at recruiting Henry while he was [there],” Hank said. “[It’s] ironic how Henry ended up being coached by coach Buzz.”
Cynthia said the A&M staff did a great job of showing Henry how he would fit in with the Aggies and the family is excited for what the future holds.
“Buzz and the staff just went above and beyond to show how much Henry was needed in their system,” Cynthia said. “We’re just really excited and looking forward to what’s gonna happen this year.”
Coleman said A&M is a great campus because of its environment, citing the Alabama football game as proof.
“[The] first time I came down here was when I was moving onto campus,” Coleman said. “[A&M] is a special campus. Even with [this year’s football] game [against Alabama], it’s a different environment. It’s a real college town. It’s something I was trying to explain to my parents and friends back home, but it’s something you can’t explain. You just have to be immersed and be here to really understand what A&M actually is.”
This summer was the first time Coleman was able to experience a normal offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it allowed him to build chemistry with his teammates while improving his individual game.
“I don’t think anybody in the country got a summer [in 2020],” Coleman said. “Being able to have one-on-one work this summer with the coaches, with some of my teammates and collectively us just being [able to be together, is great]. You win championships in the offseason.”
Wolf said the lack of a normal offseason hurt freshmen athletes, including Coleman, because of how important it is to their development.
“Last year was a unique year for everybody across the country,” Wolf said. “Most freshmen missed out on an entire summer, which is hard to do in basketball. That summer usually helps a lot of freshmen, so I don’t think Henry was able to reach his potential as a freshman because of the missed summer.”
Wolf also said the coaching staff didn’t put much stock into Coleman’s freshman season at Duke because he and Williams know the caliber of player Coleman is.
“We didn’t factor in his productivity in any regard at Duke, mainly because we know who Henry is from our recruitment of him at [Virginia Tech],” Wolf said. “We know Henry has a bright future.”
During the offseason, Coleman said he has focused on improving his shot from beyond the arc with help from the A&M coaching staff.
“[A] big thing for me was just being a more consistent 3-point shooter,” Coleman said. “[Becoming] a guy that can shoot hopefully in the high 30s is something I think can take my game to a new level. Having shots with coach Buzz and coach Lyle helped me a lot.”
Coleman said ultimately his goal is to play at the highest level of basketball, the National Basketball Association, but knows it will take a lot of hard work to get there.
“For me, [my goal has] always [been] to be an NBA player,” Coleman said. “That’s one goal I’ve had since I was little, so hopefully staying [on] that track, working hard, staying humble and surrounding myself with the right people [will] hopefully [help it come] true.”
For the upcoming season, Coleman said he is just trying to be the best form of himself and hopes that leads to A&M victories.
“[In] high school, I was always wanting to be the best version of me,” Coleman said. “I know a lot of people say that, but that has to be the first goal — just continue to be myself. Wherever that takes me and wherever that takes this team is hopefully in the right direction.”

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