Former Cal men’s basketball guard to transfer to South Alabama

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A month after declaring his intent to transfer from Cal men’s basketball, rising senior guard Don Coleman has announced through social media that he will be taking his talents to the University of South Alabama.

The move will be a bit of a homecoming for Coleman, who hails from Augusta, Georgia. Per NCAA transfer regulations, Coleman will be required to sit out the 2018-19 season and will have one final season of eligibility in 2019-20.

In 30 games with the Bears last season, Coleman averaged 14.2 points per game while shooting 32.8 percent from the field, the lowest among players in the Pac-12 who averaged 10 shots per game.

Last season, Coleman wasn’t just thrust into a starting role after the departure of Cal’s entire starting five, but he was called upon to shoulder the scoring load.

Coleman responded to the call with an explosion of offensive fireworks to begin the season, recording seven consecutive double-digit-scoring games and dropping at least 30 points in three of his first four games.

Against then-No. 6 Wichita State, one of the better defensive units in the nation, Coleman recorded a career-high 35 points along with three rebounds, assists and steals.

Coleman put together an impressive stretch during nonconference play, averaging 20.5 points on 38.8 percent shooting from the field in 13 games, but his production plummeted against conference opponents.

The numbers weren’t pretty — in 16 games during Pac-12 play, Coleman averaged 9.9 points per game on an ugly 27.1 percent shooting from the field and 19.2 percent shooting from three.

Coleman would lose his starting spot after missing Cal’s games against UCLA and USC in late January because suspension, but the guard would start the final two games of the season against Arizona and Stanford.

Coleman was only slightly better in terms of efficiency as a reserve — he shot 30.9 percent from the field — but the role of sixth man seemed to suit both him and the team far better than his role as a starter.

One of Cal’s many glaring weaknesses last season was its lack of scoring off the bench, putting pressure on the Bears’ core to produce the majority, if not all, of the points. Coleman provided that much-needed spark, averaging 10.1 points per contest.

Coleman joins an experienced South Alabama squad that will retain most of its core. Rising senior Rodrick Sikes led the Jaguars in scoring last season, averaging 18.7 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting from the field.

Justice delos Santos covers men’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @justdelossantos