Had a chance to catch up with Chris Coleman and his Christian Life Academy high school coach Carlos Wilson on Monday afternoon -- one day after the No. 10 center in the nation said he will become an FIU Panther.
Here's what the gentlemen had to say....
PP: Chris, what made you decide on joining FIU in 2011?
CC: I wanted to get coached by someone that knows the game. Plus, I loved the school when I went down there. I liked that if you graduate from FIU, because of its international ties, you can basically get a job anywhere in the world. And you can't beat the weather in Miami.
PP: When did you first meet coach Thomas and as a 17-year-old how much did you know about his Hall of Fame career?
CC: I met him last summer and he is great. I've known about what he did on the basketball court for a while, because of my grandma. My grandma loves coach Thomas. She's from Chicago, like coach, and she is a big Detroit Pistons fan. And my mom and coach Thomas went to the same high school also in Chicago.
PP: Coach Wilson tell me a little about Chris's game.
CW: Chris is a true center that can beat you with his back to the basket or by putting the ball on the floor. He's a multi-faceted big guy. He's going to cause big problems at the five spot for FIU opponents. Chris averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks last year. He shot 52% from the field and 64% from the free throw line. He has to be a better free throw shooter.
PP: Chris, it seems like you pretty much have a complete game. But what about the free throw shooting? Do you feel that it's the thing you have to improve on the most?
CC: I thought I did all right at the line last season, but I would love to improve that 64%. I'm going to get fouled a lot down there and I'm going to be at the line a lot. A lot of big guys like Dwight Howard and Shaq have trouble with the free throw. It's just a matter of concentration and focus.
PP: Do you have any ritual you go through at the line to help you out?
PP: Coach, how was FIU's recruitment of Chris?
CW: FIU got in on Chris really early and they were consistent and persistent. They did a masterful job.
PP: Chris, are you done growing at 6-10 and how do you feel about the 249 pounds you are carrying right now?
CC: I'm hoping I can get to 6-11 or 7 feet. I come from a big family. My dad is 6-4 and my mom is 5-9. I feel good at 249, but I'm going to add some muscle and get bigger. I love the weight room.
PP: Chris, do you know any of the highly-regarded recruits that FIU is chasing or any of the top players that FIU has signed?
CC: I played with Dominique Ferguson last summer in Detroit. We liked how we fed off each other on the court. We played well together. I really don't know any of the other players. But I think we can get some more top players to come down and play with us at FIU.
Along with the continued recruitment of Rakeem Christmas, the Panthers are pursuing Josiah Turner (No. 4 point guard in the nation). JT will have to decide among: Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, USC, Cal and FIU.
Word is RC is down to four schools: FIU, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgetown. FIU is also after Coral Gables High 6-8 power forward Jonathan Holton -- a 1st team All-Miami Dade player last season.
blkpanther: So Pete this makes two commitments for the 2011 season? Yvan Ngirabakunzi, Chris Coleman.
PP: Yes, so far.
Max: Any news on our schedule for this season? Shouldn't it be released soon?
PP: Opener is at home against Florida Memorial. Big non-conference home game is vs. Florida State. There won't be any 24-day road trip for FIU like last December. Schedule should be out by mid-August.