Jared Coleman-Jones brings a new style to San Diego State

Aztecs, Coleman-Jones

Credit: Middle Tennessee Athletics

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Credit: Middle Tennessee Athletics

Middle Tennessee transfer Jared Coleman-Jones committed to San Diego State this past weekend after entering the transfer portal at the start of the offseason.

Coleman-Jones became the second transfer to head down to Southern California after FAU’s Nicholas Boyd committed to head coach Brian Dutcher and the Aztecs about a week prior.

The transfer portal, or “portal combat,” as the basketball community is now calling it, is leading the sport in a new direction. Whether you think it is a good thing for the sport or not, it is here to stay.

The portal and NIL changes the dynamics of how teams recruit with the intention of putting the best team together to win a national championship. Over the years, recruiting has adapted, but never to this extent. With money (and lots of it) now at stake, the Blue Bloods are going to have a major advantage when it comes to recruitment.

“I could have took the most money I was offered in this portal and been in a terrible situation,” Coleman-Jones told EVT Tuesday evening on what wanted in his recruitment process. “I think it was more about what the culture was like, you know. (SDSU) is an effort culture. Defense wins championships for sure and I want to win a championship.”

Right after Coleman-Jones committed to the Aztecs, Lamont Butler left SDSU to join former BYU coach Mark Pope at the University of Kentucky. Just a few days later, forward Elijah Saunders entered the portal to potentially pursue NIL money as well. Saunders later posted on X about his decision.

Coleman-Jones is an offensive-minded player who averaged 11 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on 45.2% shooting this past season. The forward even shot 44.2% from beyond the arc and 77.1% from the charity stripe.

There is a lot to like about his game.

The former Blue Raider started in all 33 contests this season after having a prominent role off the bench in 2022-23. He saw a slow start offensively to the 2023-24 campaign but gradually increased his scoring as the year went on.

Credit: Middle Tennessee Athletics

Once February kicked in, Coleman-Jones began to light the arenas up. He scored in double-digits in every single game in February and 10 straight games overall. On February 24, the forward scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He added four assists while going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. A week prior, Coleman-Jones finished just shy of a triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, and even had three blocks.

If Coleman-Jones brings that type of energy and production game in and game out for the Aztecs, then he has a chance to make a major impact for Dutcher and can be one of the best big men in the Mountain West.

“I think my next step is to take my motor to the next level,” Coleman-Jones said. “It’s good, it’s okay. It’s good for Middle Tennessee, though. Is it good enough for a deep tournament run? You know, so that is where I need to get as a player and coach explained that perfectly to me.”

Coleman-Jones went on to mention that Dutcher did something that no other coach has done when recruiting him.

“Nobody else told me what my deficiencies were in my recruitment process,” He said. “I respected that. You are letting me know what I need to work on and that lets me know what your intentions are about what you want to do. So like, I’m all for it. If you want to make me better, I’m going to let you make me better.”

Dutcher and his staff have brought in two players who already seem to be great fits. Their ultimate production will depend a lot on the chemistry they develop once they start to practice together.

“I’m cool with Boyd,” Coleman-Jones said when asked if he has talked to his new teammates yet. “That’s my boy right there. I talked to Byrd and I talked to Elijah (Saunders). I didn’t know (Saunders) was going into the portal though.”

It’s uncertain who Coleman-Jones will start alongside. As of now, it could be Miles Heide, who backed up Jaedon LeDee last season. Another name is Magoon Gwath, who missed all of last season as a medical redshirt. Lastly, incoming freshman Pharaoh Compton is a candidate as a 4-star recruit at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds. We should expect to see a different offense regardless of who starts.

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Coleman-Jones brings a new style to SDSU. He expects development in his game on both sides of the floor under coach Dutcher.

“Offensively, if I’m doing what I do, and I am buying into Dutch’s defensive mindset in terms of culture and being on the floor and guarding and wanting to do that, I don’t even know where my game will get. The shape I’m going to be in. The mindset I’m going to have defensively and how that is going to influence my offense. (Dutcher’s) vision is tested and is true. That is what I am excited about is I get to be with someone who is tested and proven and I get to improve my game.”

His game can certainly be taken to new heights. The center position is extremely important to Dutcher, and he wants to fill the paint with someone who can be a rim protector. Coleman-Jones can do just that while giving you a plethora of offensive skill sets. He averaged 1.1 blocks last season while also averaging 0.6 steals per game. At 240 pounds, Coleman-Jones will be able to replicate how LeDee defended last year while having a lot less weight on his shoulders for carrying the offense.

Credit: Middle Tennessee Athletics

We all know how great LeDee was last year. He was rewarded for his play by being named the Karl Malone Award winner for the top power forward in the country. However, LeDee had a lot of weight on his shoulders having to carry the load offensively, averaging north of 20 points per game. LeDee was not a rim protector but was elite at creating turnovers and snagging a few steals.

Coleman-Jones won’t average nearly what LeDee did offensively, but at the pace Coleman-Jones plays at, we can see him exert more energy on the defensive end. He is more of a rim protector than LeDee is, and we should see him defend the basket at a high level in 2024-25.

An NBA comparison for Coleman-Jones is Bucks’ forward and NBA Champion Bobby Portis. Portis’ game has improved every year and he is now considered one of the better all-around big men in the league, despite coming off the bench.

Portis can protect the rim, step out and shoot a triple, and even run in transition for a fastbreak dunk if the opportunity is there. I think Coleman-Jones can replicate Portis’ game. There will be multiple occasions where Coleman-Jones will block a shot and come back on the other end to hit a wide-open three as the defense fails to close out in time. With how Dutcher likes to play defense with an emphasis on forcing turnovers and running in transition, we could see the newest Aztec fly high for a fast break slam as well.

Coleman-Jones will come to San Diego State and bring a new style of play that fans will quickly enjoy.

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