Thursday, May 18, 2017
By RENALDO DORSETT
COLLEGIATE basketball player Dwight Coleby is on the move once again and looks to close out his career with a third programme.
Coleby announced his intention to leave the Kansas Jayhawks following his graduation from the institution in Lawrence, Kansas, last week.
As a post-grad transfer, the 6’9”, 240-pound forward will be eligible to play immediately for the Fall 2017 season and has already been a sought after target for several programmes.
Coleby has been linked to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and VCU Rams as favourites. Other schools that have expressed interest include SMU, Stephen F Austin, Hampton, George Washington, DePaul and Seton Hall.
He graduated with a communications degree. “In talking with coach (Self) about my future, I feel that this is what is best for my potential opportunities,” he said to KU Athletics. “I would like to thank the coaching staff for allowing me to come here. I’d like to thank my teammates for their support the past two years. I’d like to thank the fans for cheering me on and believing in me. KU is a part of my heart. It’s my alma mater and I am proud to have earned my degree from KU. I will always be a Jayhawk.”
Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said he supported Coleby’s decision as he prepares to position himself for a career in pro basketball.
“Dwight and I have visited about this multiple times since the end of our season and he has worked so hard academically to put himself in a position to make this decision. We wish Dwight nothing but the very best moving forward. He felt the opportunity to go to a place and have the option to play quite a bit more and have more of a significant role would enhance his chances to play professionally in the future,” Self said.
As a junior, Coleby averaged 1.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in his first season in a Jayhawks uniform.
He was already set to spend the 2015-16 season on the sidelines as a transfer but he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a light team workout in October 2015 and had to undergo a gruelling rehab process.
“We have truly enjoyed Dwight the past two years,” Self said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. It was unfortunate he tore his ACL his first year but he played a key role, especially late in the season, to the success we had this year. We not only support him but also agree that this could potentially help his post-college professional options. Dwight will always be looked upon by our programme as a Jayhawk. We respect everything that he’s done in the time he has been here.”
Coleby and the Jayhawks ended their season with a loss to Oregon in the NCAA Regional Final or Elite Eight.
The Jayhawks ended the season 31-5. It was the second consecutive season they reached the round just short of the Final Four. They also tied an NCAA record with 13 consecutive conference titles and set a new mark with 28 straight NCAA appearances.
He had his biggest impact of the tournament in the second round during the Jayhawks’ 90-70 win over the Michigan State Spartans.
Coleby was a key contributor in the second half and finished with three points, four rebounds and one steal while starting forward Landen Lucas was limited with foul trouble.
He had his best game of the season in a February matchup against fellow Bahamian Shaquille Cleare and the Texas Longhorns, when he finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three steals.
Coleby signed with the Ole Miss Rebels out of the Piney Woods School in Mississippi.
The former Ole Miss Rebel said it was difficult to sit out, but he was committed to improvement on his game and playing for iconic head coach Bill Self.
In his freshman season with the Rebels, Coleby played in 28 games with four starts and averaged 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 10.4 minutes. He shot 47 per cent from the floor, and finished with 18 blocked shots, fifth on the team.
As a sophomore, he averaged 5.4 points and 4.8 rebounds and was also named an SEC Academic Honour Roll selection in two seasons with the Rebels.