SYRACUSE N.Y.— Nearing four years since suiting up in the Syracuse Orange basketball jersey, the 6-foot-9 powerful Center, Dajuan Coleman has made a name for himself both on and off of the court. Coleman, the youngest of six children to Tyris and Billy Coleman left a mark on his city that is forever Orange.
The now 28-year-old has had one of the most dynamic recruiting journeys, which started as early as seventh grade.
“It was a learning experience for me,” Coleman said. “I just knew I had to come out every, day and grind for everything I wanted to achieve for my future.”
The Syracuse native started playing varsity basketball as a Center for Public Service Leadership Academy (formerly known as George Fowler High School), while he was only in the eighth grade. As time progressed, Coleman quickly became a star athlete and by the time he entered his freshman year at Jamesville-Dewitt High School, he was ranked amongst the top 10 basketball prospects in the country.
On Oct. 25, 2011 Coleman committed to Syracuse University, a hometown favorite, turning down offers from the Kentucky Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“At the time it just felt right,” Coleman said. “Syracuse was ranked the number one college my senior year, that was kind of like a no-brainer…Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of that?,” Coleman said.
Soon after, Coleman was officially a member of the Syracuse basketball program, coached by assistant coach Mike Hopkins and head coach Jim Boeheim. However, Coleman’s collegiate basketball career was full of highs and lows. Like many student athletes, Coleman persevered through sports-related injuries which ranged from a torn meniscus to a rolled ankle. Looking back, Coleman credits Boeheim for pushing him and his teammates to to perform at their highest potential.
“One thing I took from him is, every day I just have to wake up and grind every day,” Coleman said.
Fast-forward to the end of Coleman’s undergraduate experience in 2016, Coleman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child & Family Studies. In 2017, he earned a Master of Science degree in Instructional Design. Today, the 260-pound giant shares his expertise playing at the division one level and insight on playing basketball professionally.
“Take it day by day…That’s one thing I did,” Coleman said.
While playing college basketball can be a very rewarding experience for some, Coleman stresses the importance of focusing on your mental health.
“Surround yourself with a good support system, stay engaged with the game, try to watch as much basketball, learn as much as you can,” Coleman said.
After graduating from Syracuse, Coleman released a unisex, fashion-forward clothing line, Night Grind and has been selling out of merchandise since it launched, in 2017.
“The thing that inspired me to create Night Grind was I had an Oaks procedure and that put me out for about 2 years,” Coleman said.
After years of intense wear and tear on his body from basketball, Coleman dedicated some of his post-surgery, recovery time on entrepreneurship.
In addition to becoming the CEO of his own business, Coleman became a Professional Basketball Player in 2019, when he played for KK Zlatorog Lasko of the Slovenian League 1. Although Coleman’s playing time overseas was short-lived, he is considering playing professionally again, in the near future.
Today, Coleman works full-time as a Student Engagement Specialist for Westside Academy at Blodgett in Syracuse and has started his coaching career. Recently, Coleman coached the ‘City Rocks’ boys basketball team, an AAU program out of Albany.
“Every time I get the chance to give back to my community, that makes me feel good,” Coleman said.
Coleman says he is looking forward to an upcoming business collaboration with SU Alum, Bert Auf, owner of Scholars and Champs, a Syracuse-vintage store this Fall. Coleman will co-host a pop up shop on 310 South Salina Street for his brand, Night Grind, when new and returning students begin classes.