AUSTIN (KXAN)–Texas point guard Matt Coleman III will turn pro after four years at Texas rather than take advantage of the extra year of eligibility players can use.
Coleman was a four year starter and his 128 starts ranks third all-time in school history. The Norfolk, Virginia native is the first player to lead Texas in assists four straight years. For his career Coleman ranks 4th all-time in assists (477), 16th in career scoring (1448 points). This past season Coleman led the team in assists, steals, minutes played and ranked second in scoring (13.2 ppg)
Coleman said that he spoke with new head coach Chris Beard the day he was hired, but in the end wanted to begin the next stage of his career. ‘These past couple days, I’m just driving around and like, wow, I’m gonna truly miss this city, miss the relationships with the people I’ve met,” said Coleman on Thursday. “I’ll always be a part of the Texas basketball family, but not being a part of it anymore as a student athlete. just all those things, all those emotions, all those thoughts that just run through your head. at the end of the day, I was blessed to be a part of it. I cherish every moment of it. at the end of the day, all I can do is smile and just like, wow, I did it.
Coleman had a number of dramatic moments in his Texas career including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win at Oklahoma his junior season, and a buzzer beater to beat North Carolina and win the Maui Invitational this past season. Coleman hit two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining to give Texas the one point lead over Chris Beard’s Texas Tech in their Big 12 quarterfinal win. Coleman went on to become the MVP of the Big 12 Championship, averaging 24.5 points per game including a career high 30 points in the championship game win over Oklahoma State.
The most frustrating part of his career came a week after the highlight of his career, losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Abilene Christian. “I just remember how I felt a week before, how my teammates felt, how I felt about my teammates, how I felt about coach and how I felt about the whole city of Austin,” Coleman said. “That joy that we got from winning a Big 12 Championship and never would I have thought that I would feel the total opposite a week after that. I think that’s what made it so much more worse is that we were just so happy with ourselves because we made history. and we come into the following week, the first game of the tournament, and I feel the total opposite. It just hurt. I was hurt. as soon as media was over, I just ran to the bathroom and I just cried. I slept in my jersey that night. I didn’t shower. I slept for like an hour. I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. I’m mature enough now that I can talk about it. probably, like two weeks ago, I still couldn’t get out of it just cause how bad I wanted it. how bad it felt for myself, for coach smart, for my teammates.
Coleman will begin his preparation for the draft in Houston next week.