Since the NCAA made their insane ruling regarding the St. Mary's infractions, it's been tough to establish how that will affect their recruiting. That will probably become more evident in the 2014 class, but for now, St. Mary's is still wrapping up 2013.
The big blow came from an unexpected source. When Steve Alford left New Mexico for UCLA, his assistant Noodles Neal took the reigns at New Mexico. Why did this affect St. Mary's? It turned out that Neal's son Cullen – a consensus top 150 player – had already signed with St. Mary's. The Neal's petitioned St. Mary's to let him out of his LOI, and of course they did. Then Cullen joined his pops at New Mexico.
That left an open scholarship. Initially, SMC pursued Keith Hornsby, but he ended up at the sudden hotspot of college hoops – LSU. Next they turned their attention to Minnesota transfer Joe Coleman, who they landed.
Minnesota transfer Joe Coleman told ESPN he is heading to Saint Mary's: http://t.co/kEKzVNVErd
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 1, 2013
The 6-4 Coleman was a highly regarded shooting guard in the class of 2011. He decided to stay home and play for the Golden Gophers. He played 19 minutes a game as a freshman and 26 minutes per game as a sophomore. But with a new staff in place, he decided to look elsewhere.
Now he'll have to sit a year and just practice with the team. Then, beginning in 2014-15, he'll have two years to play two. The Gaels current back court is loaded with seniors, including do-everything guard Stephen Holt. Coleman, essentially, will be slotted into Holt's role.
Holt and Coleman are both excellent athletes (though I'd give the edge to Coleman) who can and will defend, but the difference in their games come primarily from beyond the arc. Holt opens up his slashing game by being an excellent 3-point threat, while Coleman is not a great shooter but is an excellent slasher.
However he is used, there aren't many top 150 players who end up in the West Coast Conference that don't wear Gonzaga jerseys. And it has to be good for Gaels fans to lose one highly regarded recruit due to bizarre circumstances, and then replace that open slot with a highly regarded transfer. Coleman will be a great weapon for Coach Bennett and staff.