JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Add one more honor to the career of West Nassau basketball player Deebo Coleman.
The Warriors 6-5 senior guard and Georgia Tech signee earned the state’s top individual honor on Friday morning when he was named the state’s Mr. Basketball award winner. The news came in early, and on a day off, so Coleman was still asleep when his father, Ran, delivered the wakeup call with the good news.
Coleman, soft-spoken and even-keeled all the time, was grateful for the award, and very quick to laud his Warriors teammates as just as integral to his success.
“All the individual awards that I got this year, I always made sure I let them know I couldn’t be in this situation without my teammates because they helped me as much as I helped them,” he said.
For an area that hasn’t been known for individual basketball honors, local players have now won the Mr. Basketball award in back-to-back seasons. Paxon’s Isaiah Adams was Mr. Basketball last year. Beyond Coleman and Adams, only Jackson’s James Collins has claimed the prestigious season-ending honor. Collins won that back in 1993.
Coleman said that he and Adams, and Lee High graduate Alex Fudge, now at LSU, spent some time on the phone Friday afternoon doing a bit of reminiscing about the days of high school basketball. Fudge graduated early and enrolled at LSU. Adams just wrapped up a sterling freshman season at UCF.
“Honestly just high school basketball in general, because ain’t nothing like it,” Coleman said of what he’d miss the most.
“I know, like when I first got there and I talked to people that had been graduated, they always said, ‘cherish this moment because it goes by fast.’ And it definitely went by fast. I feel I got all out of it that I could.”
It puts the finishing touches on a career that was already among the best in area history. Coleman’s 2,539 points rank second in area history behind only Fletcher’s Myron Anthony (2,738). Coleman guided a Warriors team that hadn’t been past the second round of the state playoffs to the Class 4A state semifinals for the first time. West Nassau lost to Santa Fe 64-63 on a last-second shot.
“I hadn’t had a whole lot of teary-eyed moments,” said West Nassau coach and Deebo’s father, Ran Coleman. “But this morning, as a parent, on the parent side, I shed a couple tears of joy.”
Coleman averaged 24.7 points, 9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in his final season for the 20-12 Warriors. Coleman had 138 points in statewide balloting, beating Class 6A player of the year Tre Coleman of Charlotte (120).