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Syracuse, Kentucky Showing DaJuan Coleman Of New York 'The Most Love of Late'

New York's Federation Tournament of Champions begins Friday. Coleman leads Jamesville-DeWitt in Class A.

New York High School March Madness
New York High School March Madness

When all is said and done, Syracuse will be competing with at least one other major college program for the services of 6-foot-10, 280-pound junior center DaJuan Coleman of New York's Jamesville-DeWitt High.

So says his AAU coach, Jim Hart.

"It's going to be somebody and Syracuse," Hart said Wednesday. "If there's five or six schools, the final two is probably going to be somebody and Syracuse."

Could that "somebody" be Kentucky?

"Obviously, Kentucky and Syracuse are showing him the most love of late," Hart said.

One day after advancing to a Sweet 16 matchup with Ohio State, Kentucky coach John Calipari attended Coleman's game Sunday in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Coleman put up 22 points on 9of-15 shooting, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, and grabbed 16 rebounds as Jamesville-DeWitt beat Harborfields 66-51.

Coleman earned his second consecutive Class A tournament most valuable player award. The No. 3 center in the Class of 2012 behind uncommitted Andre Drummond and Baylor commit Isaiah Austin according to Rivals, Coleman is averaging 21.3 points and 14.5 rebounds on the season.

"Cal coming in twice in the last month seems to bring out the best in DaJuan," Hart said. "Both games he was there, DaJuan really played well."

Hart added that he thought it was especially "unique" that Calipari showed up a day after his team beat West Virginia in Tampa, Fla.

Coleman's most immediate concern is winning the New York Federation Tournament of Champions this weekend at Times Union Center.

Jamesville-DeWitt (21-3) faces Long Island Lutheran (21-4) in a Class A semifinal at 6:45 p.m. on Friday. The winner advances to Saturday's Class A championship at 7:30 p.m..

"They've won [four] straight state championships," Hart said."He'd like to get this one here. Last year they lost to Will Regan and The Nichols School of Buffalo in the final."

Aside from Kentucky and Syracuse, Coleman previously said his top five included Ohio State, North Carolina and Louisville. Hart said UConn and West Virginia were also involved.

Three of those teams -- Kentucky, Ohio State and North Carolina -- will play Friday in the East Regional in Newark, N.J. Kentucky meets Ohio State, and North Carolina faces Marquette. UConn faces San Diego State in a West Regional in Anaheim, Calif.

Still, the teams no longer in the tournament -- Syracuse, Louisville and West Virginia -- are free to watch Coleman this weekend.

"I would assume they'd want to be in the building," Hart said. "This weekend will tell a lot, who's in the gym because some of those schools aren't playing anymore."

Syracuse figures to be a serious contender for Coleman's services, given his proximity to the school and his tie-ins with the program.

"Look, I mean he's right there," Hart said. "Brandon Triche went to his high school. Andy Rautins went to his high school. He goes to probably five, six Syracuse games a year. He's obviously developed a relationship with the coaching staff there over time. It's almost like it's a second family. So that's going to be the tough decision.

"I mean, I think it's going to be clear. When that time comes, he's got a phenomenal option right in his backyard . Everything you could ever want, right there.

"But is it going to be, Does he want to take that perfect option there or does he want to get out and explore something different? I think that's very distinct in a lot of kids. If you were the No. 1 player in the country and you grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., you may want to go to Florida or what have you.

"Harrison Barnes probably considered Iowa to some extent," Hart added. "Austin Rivers chose Florida originally and then pulled out to go to Duke."

Still, nothing is imminent in terms of a decision.

"He's going to play this summer," Hart said. "He's not going to make any decisions until after the summer.

Hart said Coleman would then consult his family and his Jamesville-DeWitt High coach, Bob McKenney, before making any final decision.

"I like to take my time with it," Coleman told the Albany Times-Union.

(at Times Union Center)

Boys & Girls vs. Mt.Vernon, 3:45 p.m.
Christ the King gets a bye

Boys & Girls/Mt. Vernon winner vs. Christ the King, 2 p.m.

Long Island Lutheran vs. Jamesville-DeWitt, 6:45 p.m.
Midwood vs. St. Mary's-Manhasset, 8:30 p.m.

Long Island Lutheran/Jamesville-DeWitt winner vs. Midwood/St. Mary's-Manhasset winner, 7:30 p.m.

John S. Burke Catholic vs. Collegiate, 3:15 p.m.
Pathways College Prep vs. Salesian, 5 p.m.

John S. Burke Catholic/Collegiate vs. Pathways College Prep/Salesian, 5:45 p.m.

(Schedule courtesy Albany Times-Union)