Illinois' incoming freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands is a 4-star combo guard who will be looked upon immediately to make an impact on the offensive end. Let's take a closer look at the newest member of the Fighting Illini.
Who: Jalen Coleman-Lands
What's his story: From Indianapolis, the 6'3" 180 pound guard graduated from La Lumiere School.
Recruitnik Roundabout: According to 247Sports Composite, Coleman-Lands is a 4-star recruit. They have him as the 36th best player in the 2015 class and second in the state of Indiana. ESPN has him as the 34th best recruit in the 2015 class and an overall scout grade of 87. With his signature on the Fighting Illini dotted line, Coleman-Lands turned down offers from Indiana, Michigan and what most specialists believed were the two front runners in UNLV and Notre Dame.
One lyric that best describes Coleman-Lands: "There's a full court pressure, I'm just goin' for the two. If I'm open for the three, Im gonna take it in a second, even if there's one second and I'm gonna make it. It's nothing."- Lil Wayne
This will be obvious in a few short seconds... I promise.
Why should the average Big Ten fan be excited to watch him play?: For those of you that watched Steph Curry in the NCAA Tournament (and/or NBA) and thought, "Gee this is a ton of fun. Watching a 6'3" combo guard that can lurch in any direction from 22-feet and bury jumper after jumper all the while becoming a Super Saiyan on three Red Bulls", this guy is for you. I promise.
What do his former coaches say?: From La Lumiere head coach Shane Heirman via The News-Gazette:
Is it just me or is that absolutely refreshing to hear? This is the kind of kid that can change a program, something John Groce desperately needed.
Does he have a social media presence?: This kid is too good to be true. Honestly, his coach is right. He just continues to impress:
If you can't respect those who love,care and support you then I doubt you have any respect for yourself.— Jalen Coleman Lands (@ColemanJalen) May 19, 2015
Happy Mother's Day to all mothers.— Jalen Coleman Lands (@ColemanJalen) May 10, 2015
Thinking about not using my twitter or Instagram until after our seasons over with.— Jalen Coleman Lands (@ColemanJalen) June 15, 2015
Seriously who is this kid? He's the picture perfect projection of an 18-year old mixed with a messiah. He's seemingly everything I've ever wanted in a college athlete (and that's before you've even seen the hype video). So much so, I'm honestly starting to question if I can root for Iowa and Coleman-Lands at the same time.
Nevertheless, while his social media presence could be suspended because #SMARTSMARTSMART, Coleman-Lands is a constant retweeter of some of the funniest videos that probably aren't exactly appropriate to openly share on this post (but why not a link or three?).
Smart, sophisticated, hard worker, NBA Jam Fire maker AND a sense of humor?
I'm falling way too hard...
Why will Coleman-Lands be important for John Groce?: Allow me to put in the most Midwestern/Illini way possible. When there were droughts back in the proverbial day, Native Americans were known to perform dance rituals in hopes of appeasing their God's who controlled the natural water flow. Now if my absolutely poor historical memory is correct, when done correctly, it would rain for days (or so it was believed).
What does that have to do with the Illini in 2015?
Well, Illinois shot 35.7% from three-point land (8th in conference) and 44.8% from inside the arc (13th in conference). So, I like to imagine that John Groce danced around his office after every 2014-15 basketball game in Chief Illiniwek's Sioux regalia, praying for rain. I'm talking full suit and tribal paint. And much to his credit, his hopes and dreams were answered with the signing of Coleman-Lands.
Long story short, the Illini shooting drought is over.
What says the tape?:
- Crossover, crossoover into a step back three ball all the while a Joker-esque laugh drops in the background. These hype videos just continue to out do themselves when it comes to grabbing my attention. Why so serious, indeed.
- While I could've done without the three replays of a breakaway dunk, take a long look at how Coleman-Lands KILLS defenders that go under the pick and roll. He maybe needs a split second of space so by the time a help defender shoots out for the double, the ball is in the net.
- Coleman-Lands has spent much of his senior year and one would assume his summer working on his "point guard" abilities. Something to consider when tuning in this fall. When better/more agile defenders work through a screen, or when he's doubled on the P&R, can he make the pass to his rolling big. While that's normally tough for a balls-to-the-walls purebred scorer, I'm betting on this kid.
- A quick announcement to all Big Ten defenders.... DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT GO UNDER A SCREEN ON THIS KID. EVER. I can already see Tom Izzo freaking out about this.
- His shooting form is perfection. I would honestly watch a three-hour video of him just shooting in an open gym. Can somebody please make this happen?
- If he's not already, John Groce should be watching some Spurs tape this summer so he can implement some of Gregg Popovich's patented dribble hand off/constant motion offense. Coleman-Lands could make a killing in sets like this.
- He has to be one of the most frustrating players to guard. If you stay on his hip, he's athletic enough to burn you to the hoop or lay on a pretty legit shot fake. If you sag, he's popping in your face (you can see the best of all of this at the 3:51 mark).
- Can I get a "Hand down, man down" anyone?