He is smooth, calm almost cold-blooded.
Oh and yes, Jacob Coleman is a really good basketball player.
How good? He averaged 17.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 steals and even one blocked shot per game for the best boys’ team in the area.
Basehor-Linwood, a very young squad, won the final Kaw Valley League title and finished 16-6 before things came to a dramatic thud in a 64-61 overtime loss to rivals Piper in the sub-state championship game last weekend.
That still doesn’t take away Coleman’s achievements as he became the focal point for a very young, good team.
That is why he is the 2017-18 Leavenworth Times’ Boys’ Basketball Select Player of the Year.
Coleman finished the year hitting 50 percent of his shots – 37 percent from beyond the arc – and a respectable 73 percent from the line while being the major point of focus for most of the other teams’ defensive schemes.
“When Nolan Ford went down with a concussion, Jacob had 31 points, 17 rebounds and three assists against Labette County and 30 points, nine rebounds and four assists against Piper in back-to-back wins,” BLHS’ venerable head coach Michael McBride said. “His best quality is his ability to let the game come to him. He probably doesn't know it, but he figures out where his team needs him that night and then he does what he has to for us to win.”
“I think I played OK this year. It didn’t end the way we wanted though, falling a little short,” Coleman said. “My teammates really helped me this season become the player I was this year. Summer ball really helped and trusting coach and listening to him, I really came a long ways with that. He’s a great coach and I give most of the props to him.
“It was a good year overall, even if it ended short (of state). It was over and beyond what coach expected.”
Coleman’s game went from being a solid role player on a senior-dominated team last year to being a solid four- or five-tool player less than a year later.
“I was happy with my post game,” Coleman said. “I came into high school never really wanting to play post and last year I didn’t play post much because we had Jackson Sherley and Eric (Scott) was bigger and stronger than I was. I had to step up and play a little post this year because we weren’t very big. That was one of my bigger improvements this year.”
Coleman eventually evolved into a leadership role as the team looked for an identity.
“Over the summer, we really didn’t have a leader. We were still trying to figure things out,” Coleman said. “Even a couple of games into the season we were still trying to figure things out. That’s when we realized that a leader is what we needed and what we were missing out on.”
He then recalled some of the great leadership skills of Jahron McPherson and Pat Muldoon of recent seasons and took some of those cues.
“That’s what I kind of want to be like,” Coleman admitted.
He has one more year left in high school and he sees a more experienced team coming back with something to prove, while he hopes to continue to play the game beyond the walls of prep academics.
“I am going to work on my shot this year and my vertical,” Coleman said. “I think my shot can improve. Assistant coach (Cody) Ziegler says my shot is flat and hits the front of the rim, so I will do some work on that and get more arc on that. I will work on my vertical and see if I can get more bang-outs next year.
“I only have a couple (colleges) looking at me, but I love the game, so I will go anywhere that will take me. I just want to play.”
Rest of the Select
Logan Barnhard, junior, Lansing: Barnhard came on strong as the season progressed, becoming a reliable inside man for a young Lions’ team, scoring just a shade under nine points a night while snatching 5.2 boards. He could score and provide post defense that came in handy. “This young man with no varsity experience came into the season in shape and ready to contribute and contribute he did,” Lansing head coach Mark McQuillan said. “Logan was first in rebounding and third in scoring this season for us. He did a good job not ever starting or playing a varsity game before this season. His summer effort will determine how much he will improve.”
Nolan Ford, junior, Basehor-Linwood: Ford was a major facilitator for the Bobcats, averaging just under four assists a night. He could hit his shots to the tune of 7.8 points per game while snaring 3.5 boards. “He is our best defender and he runs the show for us,” McBride said. “He was not a natural point guard, but he continues to improve as he is getting a great grasp on when to score and when to distribute. At the halfway point he was averaging a 1-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. He has improved that to a 1.5-to-1. Again, when he is locked in, he is one of the better defenders around.”
Jaden Remington, junior, Lansing: After nearly sitting out the game for a year due to ailments a year ago, the Lion junior became one of the better scorers around as he averaged 13.7 per game while also grabbing 4.2 boards. He could score inside and out and was always a matchup problem for most opponents. “He had a good first season with the program as a full-time starter,” McQuillan said. “He was out last year with an illness. He led us in scoring and was second in rebounding. He played every position on the floor for us at one time or another this season. His last game of the year showed the potential he has to be a leader on both ends of the court for us next year. With hard work this summer, the sky is the limit for Jaden.”
Michael Sauer, junior, Leavenworth: Hailed by Hall of Fame Pioneer head coach Larry Hogan as the team’s best defender, Sauer broke out in 2017-18. As the season progressed, he scored more in clutch situations and was always willing to take the big shot or make the big play down the stretch.
Noah Trader, senior, Pleasant Ridge: The senior forward came up big for an improved Rams’ team by averaging 16.9 ppg and 8.8 rpg in his final year in a Pleasant Ridge uniform. “He was a terrific leader and scorer for the Rams,” Pleasant Ridge head coach Pat Battle said as Trader’s three-year stature as a starter wrapped up with high accolades.
Reece Williams, sophomore, Leavenworth: Tasked with the job of doing plenty of banging around the interior while playing bigger Sunflower League teams, the second-year starter had a solid season with 10.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg as he continued to stretch his game from outside the block and showed off some skills with the ball and attacking the rim.
Caleb Adams, junior, Lansing
Breydon Baragary, senior, Pleasant Ridge
Konner McQuillan, junior, Lansing
Kobe Sifford, junior, Basehor-Linwood
Zach Thiel, senior, Leavenworth
Connor Younger, sophomore, Basehor-Linwood