Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week

Alemany's senior star looks to drive the baseline in CIF state final. Willie Eashman/ESPNHS

Huge second half of state final by Marqueze Coleman puts icing on the cake for memorable season by himself and Alemany team.

Although Marqueze Coleman from Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills had big outings all season, none was bigger than his second half feats of the Warriors’ 71-67 victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco last Saturday in the CIF Division III state championship.

For his performance in leading Alemany to its first state championship, and the finest season in the 56-year history of the boys basketball program, plus his work in the classroom, the 6-foot-4 Nevada-bound 3.4 GPA student-athlete has been named the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week.

When Coleman picked up his third foul with 4:17 left in the second quarter, the Irish took advantage and led 40-32 at halftime.

The second half was a horse of another color, particularly for Coleman, who started the third quarter with seven points and three rebounds.

By the time the contest ended, Coleman had a game-high 29 points and a team-high nine rebounds, with two steals and a blocked shot.

His two-handed dunk with 2:36 remaining gave Alemany a 50-49 lead it never relinquished. Then, after an Irish layup somehow rolled around and out, Coleman snared the rebound, got fouled, and coolly canned two free throws with 9.5 seconds left to close out the scoring.

On the season, Marqueze, who transferred from Los Angeles Dorsey last year along with twin brother Michael Coleman (a 6-foot Warriors’ reserve) had a 21.1 per game scoring average to go with 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.4 assists.

Last year, after transferring, Coleman’s 13.1 per game average was second on the team to his childhood buddy Max Guercy, who had 19 points and eight rebounds in this year’s state title game win.

“The transition to Alemany was easy. They accepted me and my brother,” Coleman told Cal-Hi Sports. “I’ve known Max and Jerico (Richardson) since I was 8 years-old and we all play on the Cal Supreme travel team.”

Richardson, a Grid-Hoop All-State choice, is bound for UCLA on a football scholarship.

Get on the bus and then make a fuss

Besides wanting to mention his buddies, Coleman wanted to talk about the Alemany fans. Of all the student rooting sections for the 10 games played at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Alemany’s was the largest and loudest.

More than 500 kids and 150 family, friends and faculty made the trip up from the San Fernando Valley.

“What a great environment to play in, and to have the best fan section like we do? It wouldn’t have happened without our principal Mr. (Frank) Ferry. He rented eight charter busses.”

Coach’s comments

“Marqueze has worked his tail off to get where he’s at,” said seven-year coach and Alemany geometry teacher Tray Meeks, a 1994 graduate of Inglewood Morningside. “He came in and embraced everything we teach and bought into the team concept.”

“He impacts the game in so many ways. He can score, and the way he puts the ball on the floor makes him a tough out for most guys. He posts up smaller guys and gets around big guys pretty easily. Plus, he can defend big guys, and defend guards.”

“I truly believe Marqueze can some day play professionally and I told him that I expect huge things from him in the future. He has all the tools. It just depends on his continued work ethic.”

Chip off the block

Besides Marqueze and Michael, the Coleman household consists of their father and mother, Deon and Natalie Coleman.

Deon, a hoopster in high school and college, coaches travel ball and works in the recreation business. Natalie, the only non-athlete in the family, works in the medical field.

Opening his eyes

Like all Catholic schools, Alemany requires community service. For his, Marqueze worked at a homeless shelter in nearby Sylmar. It gave him an opportunity to see the realities of life.

“Helping feed the homeless really opened my eyes. It helped me to have faith in God and stay focused in school.”

Why Nevada and future goals

“I love the coaching staff and I bonded with the players when I met them.”

“My ultimate goal is to play professionally but I might pursue a career in sports medicine.”

Marqueze’s favorites

Team: “Miami Heat. LeBron (James), Dwayne (Wade) and Chris (Bosh) are all the best at their position.”

Player: “I’m a big LeBron fan. I love his work ethic. A lot of people talk him down like they’ve done about me.”

Basketball movie: “Love & Basketball.”

Car: “A white Range Rover with black rims and tinted windows.”

Vacation spot: “I’ve seen the fake Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. I’d like to see it for real.”

Things Coleman looks forward to in college

“The college experience, playing basketball and focusing on school.”

Advice for youngsters

“If you want to go to college, keep your grades up. Work hard on the court and in the classroom and you’ll be fine.”

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