Guard Justin Coleman made significant strides for Alabama in his sophomore season in 2015-16, but the Crimson Tide will not get the opportunity to see what he can do as an upperclassman.
Coleman took to Twitter on Wednesday and said, “First off I wanna thank God, the University of Alabama, fans and coaches. But Coach [Avery] Johnson and I have decided it was best to transfer.”
Coleman arrived on campus with high expectations as a 4-star recruit, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, although he didn’t put up huge numbers in his freshman season as he grew accustomed to the college game. However, he showed marked statistical improvement as a sophomore and appeared in all 33 of Alabama's contests:
|Justin Coleman's Per-Game Stats|
|Season||Minutes||Points||Assists||Rebounds||Field-Goal Percentage||Three-Point Percentage|
Coleman was fourth on the team in points per game behind Retin Obasohan, Shannon Hale and Arthur Edwards. He also turned in a handful of notable performances, including his outing against Elite Eight-bound Oregon on Dec. 21, when he scored 24 points and dished out six assists in a narrow four-point loss. He tallied 21 points and five assists during a Feb. 17 victory over Ben Simmons and SEC rival LSU as well.
Coleman's size at 5’10” limited his ability to drill outside shots over defenders (hence, the low three-point percentage numbers), but he is an impressive ball-handler and distributor. He led Alabama in total assists last season with 110 and will likely look to slide into a point guard role wherever he transfers.
As for Alabama, Charlie Potter of 247Sports said the Crimson Tide will turn to Dazon Ingram and Avery Johnson Jr. to play point guard in 2016-17. Johnson Jr. sat out the 2015-16 campaign after transferring from Texas A&M, and Ingram only played seven games because of injury.
Still, Alex Byington of the Times Daily said "it's expected" that Ingram will be the starter at point guard next season, which likely contributed to Coleman's decision to transfer out.
Ingram may have only played seven games in 2015-16, but he is a matchup problem for opposing defenses at 6’5” with a high ceiling. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists a night in limited action as a freshman and will look to lead the Crimson Tide to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2011-12 season.