Magruder forward Brian Coleman headed to Catholic

After a senior season in which he helped Magruder earn its third straight Maryland 4A West title, forward Brian Coleman committed last Friday to continue his career at Division III Catholic. He chose to stay close to home at the District school, picking the Cardinals over opportunities at St. Mary’s (Md.), York (Pa.) and Roanoke (Va.).

“I got to go down there and meet the team, and it got me excited,” Coleman said of Catholic, which made it to the second round of the Division III NCAA tournament this season. “There’s a great team atmosphere. I thought I would be able to transition easily into a program like that.”

Brian Coleman, left, set a career high with 22 points in Tuesday's senior night win over Paint Branch. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post) Brian Coleman, left, came on strong during his senior season at Magruder and will play next year at Catholic. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The 6-foot-4 forward entered the winter with just 26 career varsity points, but he jumped into an all-senior starting lineup and took advantage of the increased playing time, averaging 7.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Magruder won the 2012 Maryland 4A state title with a front court that featured 6-foot-5 Garland Owens (Boston College via Massanutten Military Academy) and 6-foot-8 Luke Ruland (Salisbury). Coleman, meantime, struggled with a broken finger on his shooting hand for much of the season and played a minor role coming off the bench.

The Colonels came back this season using a lineup that regularly featured Coleman as the tallest player and managed another deep postseason run, falling to Eleanor Roosevelt in the state final at Comcast Center.

With plenty of hustle and an outside shot that could stretch defenses, Coleman managed to hold his own inside against some of the state’s top competition. He shot 51 percent from the field with nine three-pointers for the season and scored a career-best 22 points in a senior night win over Paint Branch on Feb. 12 with a Catholic assistant in attendance.

“I felt like I had some big shoes to fill,” said Coleman, who earned the call up to varsity for the playoffs during his sophomore season. “I took the opportunity in stride and just did my best.”

Magruder will have to reload next season after graduating its entire starting lineup and eight players in all.

Coleman joins Nick Griffin (George Washington) and Justin Witmer (Salisbury) among the Colonels who plan to play at the next level. Point guard J.J. Epps, a four-year starter, continues to sort through his options for next year with a stop at prep school likely, according to Coach Dan Harwood.

“We all grew up together,” Coleman said. “We had a chemistry that is rarely found now a days in basketball. I was blessed to play with that group of kids, and I’m going to miss playing with them.”

At Catholic, Coleman will be joined in the incoming freshman class by Bishop Ireton senior Louis Khouri. The 6-foot-1 guard who averaged 13.7 points per game for the Cardinals in the winter made his commitment earlier this month.

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Brandon Parker · April 24, 2013

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