Basketball player Spencer Coleman has traveled a rough road, but the star senior forward is relishing the second chance Northwest Christian University has given him. Coleman has led the Beacons to a 12-9 record thus far and is now seeking to become exemplary off the court as well.
Coleman has been greatly influenced by head coach Luke Jackson and the high standards and expectations of NCU. But he’s also been affected by the poor decision-making that led to his departure from the University of Montana last spring. At Montana he received two alcohol-related citations in a four-month span in the spring of 2013 and ended up being dismissed from the team. One of the charges was changed from a DUI to reckless driving, he says. The experiences leave a sour taste in Coleman’s mouth, and he says he regrets his actions. But he has come to see the infraction and necessity to transfer as a blessing in disguise.
“It’s unfortunate I had to be a part of that, but, then again, it was good for me personally because it made me a little more hungry,” Coleman says. “It made me a little more aware. It was kind of like dunking my head in a tub of ice water.” He adds, “It changed my perspective on things, and I think in the long run it is really going to help me out. I just have to get stronger and learn from it.”
Coleman has continued to improve his skills on the court. NCU has struggled of late, but Coleman is averaging 18 points and nine rebounds per game on the season, while shooting a team-high 57 percent from the field.
Success on the court motivates Coleman, who has hopes of following in his head coach’s footsteps by pursuing a career as a pro, but life at NCU is more than all things basketball. He has to attend chapel and perform community service work, which he says helps him focus. “It helps you get into a routine of knowing that you are doing these things to get better and grow every day,” he says. “That helps on the court, too, because I know, when you are in a routine, it helps you stay in a rhythm. That’s a big part of being successful in the game of basketball.”
Coach Jackson is a also big part of Coleman’s continued success. Jackson uses his basketball journey that took him everywhere from the NBA Developmental League to Italy and Israel as a tool to inspire and teach his team. His ability to overcome adversity has had an impact on Coleman, who is overcoming his own by learning from his trouble in Montana.
“There’s going to be a lot more negative consequences in a lot more parts of your life if you don’t get back focused on why you are here at school and what you really want to get out of this,” Coleman says. “It’s a good little bump in the road that basically got me back on track.”
Coleman was a stand-out player while at South Eugene High School. He played for Eastern Arizona College before transferring to Montana.