A year removed from the public eye, Dwight Coleby provided a scouting report on what fans should expect from the Jayhawks’ 6-foot-9 transfer from the Bahamas and, more recently, Mississippi.
“Probably rebounding (and) playing tough in the post,” said Coleby, who spent 2015-16 as a redshirt, rehabbing from left knee surgery and sitting out a season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. “Being physical, protect the rim, play hard,” he added.
Originally from Nassau, Coleby played in all 34 games for Ole Miss in 2014-15, including three starts. He averaged 5.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 16.5 minutes for the Rebels, who went 21-13 overall, tied for third in the Southeastern Conference with an 11-7 record and lost to Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
As a freshman in 2013-14, Coleby started four of 28 games for Ole Miss and averaged 2.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 10.4 minutes.
“He does have good touch. He’s a good shooter,” KU coach Bill Self said. Coleby hit 53.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 79.7 percent of his free throws during his sophomore campaign. He also blocked 29 shots.
“Losing Perry (Ellis), obviously we’ll lose a scorer there,” Self continued. “I’m not sure he’ll be a scorer like that. He’s a guy who can definitely stretch the defense. He’s a big guy that can play either bigs position. He’s active. He reminds me of a lot of a bigger Jamari (Traylor) or Thomas Robinson-type body.
“He’s got a great motor. I feel like he can play on the block. He can play facing. He can do a lot of different things. He’s raw offensively, but he’s a premiere athlete and should be a solid rebounder and defender right off the bat.”
Coleby had six double-figure scoring efforts during his sophomore season at Ole Miss and put up his first career double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds against Arkansas. At Piney Woods High in Piney Woods, Miss., he averaged 20 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in 2012-13. Before Piney Woods, Coleby attended St. George’s High in Freeport, Bahamas.
“He’s hasn’t been playing ball forever, but there is definitely a foundation there, physically,” Self said. “Also, (there’s a) foundation from an intellect standpoint that is going to allow him to become a much better player fast. Without question, we think his best ball is well down the road.”
Coleby’s surgery repaired his left ACL as well as a torn meniscus and micro fracture.
Though relegated to a courtside seat last year, he enjoyed watching KU’s big men do their thing.
“They are all physical, tough, rebound, protect the rim. They are very good players,” Coleby said. “All the bigs were good. I feel I should continue doing what they were doing.”
He said the best thing about his redshirt season was “being able to see the fans and watch the games. Very exciting.”
The worst part of the year? Getting injured during KU’s preseason.
“I lost all the muscles in my leg,” he said. “Starting rehab, I was trying to get strength back in my leg. I was just learning how to lift my leg. I couldn’t even lift it. I had to learn how to walk. I had to learn how to jump and move and do stuff like that. It’s a long process.”
Coleby realizes his two years of eligibility in Lawrence will go by quickly.
“I love it here. It was more football than basketball (at Ole Miss). Here it’s more basketball. You feel the love,” Coleby said. “Most of the dudes (on the team) are like superstars, rock stars. Everywhere you go, everyone knows you. Whether you are in Lawrence or Kansas City … even if you are going to Kansas City, I’ve been there a few times. They (fans) know who I am and I don’t even play yet. They want to take pictures with you. They want autographs. It’s crazy over there.”