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J-D's DaJuan Coleman chooses SU for basketball

Three-time state champ picks Orange over Kentucky, Ohio State

— DaJuan Coleman reached over the table for one hat, with a Kentucky logo on it. Then he pivoted over to the Syracuse hat and, smiling, put it on his head - much to the mutual delight of the entire Central New York basketball community.

On Tuesday afternoon, Coleman, the Jamesville-DeWitt senior who has led the Red Rams to three consecutive state Class A championships, announced his verbal commitment to stay at home and play for the Orange, starting in the fall of 2012.

"There's nothing like playing at home," said Coleman. "And I think that we will have a very good team (at SU) next fall if I go there."

"I'm thrilled and proud for him," said J-D head coach Bob McKenney. "He's an impact player and will help SU right away."

More than 200 people crowded the Hall of Fame gallery in the foyer outside the J-D gymnasium for this announcement, standing five deep around the bank of TV cameras. The crowd included family, students, and the J-D basketball players who are Coleman's teammates.

When Coleman walked out, dressed in a three-piece suit while accompanied by his mother, Tyris, and his brothers, the crowd broke out in loud applause. And they were even louder when Coleman put on the SU hat, even starting a "Let's Go Orange!" chant.

So, for the third time in the last decade, a major J-D recruit chooses to go up the road to the Carrier Dome, Coleman joining Andy Rautins and Brandon Triche in making that short trek.

Unlike Rautins and Triche, though, Coleman was sought by every major college program in the country. By the fall, he had narrowed it down to three finalists - SU, Kentucky and Ohio State.

Both Coleman and J-D head coach Bob McKenney said the recruiting process had become grueling by Coleman's junior year, taking up large amounts of their time.

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