Dwight Coleby, a transfer from Ole Miss, is set to make an impact with the University of Kansas during the 2016-2017 basketball season. As a redshirt junior, he may even be a viable option for Bill Self next season. Though we know he transferred to Kansas in hopes to seek more playing time, there is a lot about Dwight Coleby that raises some questions.
In high school, Coleby was credited with being the 2nd best player in the state of Mississippi, according to ESPN. He was named to both the Mississippi All-State and All-Metro teams in 2013. Originally from the Bahamas, Coleby played high school basketball at Piney Woods High School in Mississippi. During his senior season, he averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, and five blocks per game.
While at Ole Miss, he averaged 2.4 points per game during his freshman season, and that increased to 5.4 PPG during his sophomore year. Coleby averaged about 12 minutes in his two seasons with the Rebels, which might go up this year under Bill Self. In just one year, Coleby jumped from 18 blocks to 29. Self, when talking to KU Sports, said that he really liked Coleby’s ability to block shots.
“It would be nice to have a big guy in your program that knew the system, and we can rely on to be a foundation, Self said. “When Dwight became available, we researched it and watched tape. He’s a exactly what I think we need. He’s a big guy that can play either bigs position. He’s active. He reminds me of a lot of a bigger Jamari or Thomas Robinson-type body. He’s got a great motor. I feel like he can play on the block. He can play facing. He can do a lot of different things. He’s raw offensively, but he’s a premiere athlete and should be a solid rebounder and defender right off the bat.”
Self also pointed out that Coleby hadn’t been playing basketball very long before college, which has been a familiar trend among recent Kansas frontcourt members, such as Joel Embiid, Jamari Traylor, and Cheick Diallo.
Coleby transferred to Kansas and accepted a redshirt for the 2015-16 season. At a September 2015 workout, he tore his ACL, shelving him for the entire practice season. “This is my first knee injury, and I will do everything I can to get back to 100 percent,” Coleby said [to the Kansas City Star].
“I have had great support from everyone since this happened and look forward to getting back as soon as possible.”
At the time, the team wasn’t too concerned about losing that depth, as they had Perry Ellis returning for the 67th straight season. Kansas also had Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg, Hunter Mickelson, Traylor, and Diallo set to receive minutes in the frontcourt.
With KU graduating most of their frontcourt heading into this year, Dwight Coleby will most likely be getting just what he wanted out of his transfer to KU – more playing time. Though some question if he’ll actually be getting playing time behind Bragg, Lucas, and freshman Udoka Azubuike, Self said that he hopes that with development, Coleby can transform into a potential starter with the Jayhawks. He couldn’t seem to say enough good things about Coleby’s intelligence for the game, which would only improve his skillset. Because of Coleby’s upperclassmen status, he will be getting a good amount of playing time, while Azubuike will likely take on more of an observational role for this season.
Because of his track background, Coleby is a well-rounded athlete. He obviously won’t be the quickest guy on the floor, but because track requires so much leg strength, his physicality will be a good asset for the team. He’s very good at boxing out down low, and even better at pulling down rebounds. His jump shot, for a big man, is a nice tool to have, as he shot a little over 53% from the field during his sophomore year as a Rebel.
The only disadvantage that Coleby really has is that nobody knows how he will be coming off of his ACL injury. Because he’s never had a knee injury, there’s nothing to base this one from, which could be good or bad. Self said during last Saturday’s Late Night in the Phog scrimmage that Coleby was only about 85% healthy, so he may have some trouble keeping up with the fast-paced offense that the Jayhawks like to run.
Overall, the versatility of Dwight Coleby should play to KU’s benefit. Bill Self said that he’s like a bigger Jamari Traylor, and he very well might be. But while Traylor didn’t have a great shot and was always kind of soft down low, Coleby is aggressive, and he will have a much more productive season on the offensive side of things. While he’s still getting accustomed to the system at KU, look for him to make an impact on the court this season.