SYRACUSE, NY (NCC NEWS) —You may recognize him from his time playing for the Syracuse Orange, or you may remember the Jamesville-DeWitt High School student who was named the 2012 McDonald’s All-American, who towered over his classmates. His name is Dajuan Coleman. The 29-year-old was a power forward for Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim and went on to play professionally in Slovenia (2019).
Today, Coleman is still leaving his heart on the basketball court, but this time as an assistant coach for the Baldwinsville Bees. In addition to being a coach, Coleman has a full-time position as a student engagement specialist at Baldwinsville High School, where he works with students who need additional support. But his real passion is giving back and teaching others how to master the game he gave it all for.
“This is the first week of playoffs,” Coleman said. “We’re playing against Nottingham High School, this is my third week actually with the team and hopefully, we’re going to get this win tonight.”
The Spring League is held between May and June, where the Baldwinsville Bees get the opportunity to sharpen their skills, despite the fact that basketball season ends in March.
“It’s been pretty good,” Coleman said. “We had a couple young players, so what I’m thinking for this Spring League is getting a lot of the JV players and the varsity players together, so they can get a lot [more] comfortable.”
Building chemistry isn’t the only strategy the coach has in mind; teamwork is all part of it.
“Playing guard is about seeing the court, having good vision and leading your team, really,” Jeffrey Allen, 16, said.
Allen says he is still adapting to being a part of a team and learning from his teammates.
“I like being around the guys,” Allen said. “They are very competitive, they know how to move around the court, they’re teaching me how to move around the court, I’m trying to have chemistry with them, so this is why I am playing with them right now.”
Coleman wants his players to work together towards one common goal, but more importantly, to take this opportunity to have fun.
“I really do think this team got a lot of potential,” Coleman said. “We might be a lot better than the team from last year.”
Jason Bifulco is in the 11th grade and says he’s been playing basketball for years, but this his first time playing on the varsity team.
“Dajuan’s great,” Bifulco said. “We can learn a lot from him because he played at such a high level. It was really fun watching him when he played there [ Syracuse University] and I just love the energy he brings when he coaches us.”
The Bees will play their championship game on June 14 against Cicero-North Syracuse High School at 7 p.m.