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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: DaJuan Coleman Picks Syracuse

In a press conference from his school, 2012 C DaJuan Coleman announced today he has committed to play for the Syracuse Orange. The highly regarded big man is ranked 27th overall by Rivals, 11th by Scout, and 14th by ESPNU. Coleman plays basketball a stone's throw away from Syracuse at Jamesville-DeWitt High and had also considered Kentucky and Ohio State. He's expected to sign during the Early Signing Period, so this commitment effectively ends his recruitment.

Coleman is an absolute load in the paint. He possesses solid close-to-the-basket post moves and should wear out opposing defenders down low. With his big frame, he is a stout rebounder and can ably utilize his body to position off post players when blocking out and defending. The "big" part is important to keep in mind. Coleman has reportedly struggled with consistency and conditioning during his prep career, and will need to optimize both to be an effective collegiate big.

But given his five-star talent, Coleman should immediately step in and be a physical presence for the Orange. Though attrition or NBA early entry are considerations, Syracuse currently expects to the return of sophomores Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita as well as freshman Rakeem Christmas for the 2012-13 season. In addition, the Orange already have a commitment from forward Jerami Grant (nephew of ex-Chicago Bull Horace Grant), giving Syracuse an absolutely filthy frontcourt in 2012 if all the pieces return.

As for the good guys, with the graduation of Eloy Vargas and the expected NBA early entry departure of Anthony Davis, Kentucky absolutely needs a recruit next year that can man the 5. The Wildcats are still in the hunt for Willie Cauley, a top prospect who will also decide by the early signing period. Kentucky is in good shape with Cauley, who attended Big Blue Madness along with Coleman. However, the recent scuttlebutt is that local school Kansas St. may be too difficult to beat.

If Cauley also opts for the hometown school, Kentucky could try a last-ditch effort with Mitch McGary (Duke and Michigan comprise his top two) or Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona and Kansas). Both should be considered extreme longshots at this point.

The other bigs on Kentucky's list are much more likely, but profile much better as power forwards: Anthony Bennett, Robert Carter, and Amile Jefferson. Jefferson just visited Lexington last weekend (with SG Gary Harris), and Bennett hasn't yet narrowed down his list. While none are true centers, they could certainly play slide up and play out of position, similar to Anthony Davis this year. Also, expect John Calipari to scour the junior college ranks (a la Vargas) or outside the top 100, if only for depth purposes.

Best of luck to Coleman at Syracuse. It would have been nice to see him in the blue and white, but it's hard to resist the allure of your hometown school.