AURORA | Less than two weeks ahead of the official opening of practices for the 2015-16 boys basketball season, Aurora Central senior Elijah Coleman verbally committed to Black Hills State University.
The 6-foot-2 guard is looking to build on a junior season in which he finished third in scoring for coach Ian Calvert’s Trojans at 14.0 points per game and second in rebounding at 6.0 per game.
Coleman, who looks to form a strong combination with fellow senior LaDarius Thomas and others for Aurora Central in the upcoming season, was impressed by how much he felt wanted by Black Hills State program when he made his visit to the Spearfish, South Dakota, campus in October.
“They made me feel like I was a part of the program the first day in Spearfish,” Coleman told the Sentinel. “I made my choice based off the community, the school itself, campus, students and basketball program. The coaching staff had a role in my choice. I feel the staff there will put (me) in the best position to be successful on and off the court.”
Under coach Jeff Trumbauer, the Yellowjackets finished 10-19 overall last season and finished ninth in the 14-team Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings.
Black Hills State has two former Colorado prep players on its roster for 2015-16 in Broomfield grad Nick Ongarato and Thompson Valley grad Collin Smith.
On Twitter, Calvert said he’d “never been happier as a coach” than he was for Coleman, who he called a hard worker with “one of the highest ceilings in 2016.”
Coleman spent his freshman year at Gateway before transferring to Aurora Central as a sophomore, when he averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. His numbers in both categories increased markedly last season and he also upped his totals in assists and steals.
Thomas, who averaged a team-high 16.1 points per game last season, also received a scholarship offer from Black Hills State and is considering joining the Yellowjackets in addition to other options according to Calvert.
“We are looking to make some noise and make senior year unforgettable,” Coleman said. “One of the goals is to get past the first round (of the playoffs), then taking it one step at a time.”
Practices for the winter sports season begins on Nov. 12, with the opening of the regular season ahead on Dec. 1.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel