Red Devil junior Jaden, and freshman Tre’, Coleman are brothers separated by just 18 months. Typically, siblings share a special bond that will forever connect them deeper than just being related.
For the Coleman brothers, basketball is just that.
Jeffersonville is home to one of the proudest high school basketball traditions in the entire state of Indiana. The Red Devils are in their second rebuilding year behind Joe Luce, and are expecting the Coleman brothers to be a major part of future success.
This season has been unlike the recent, as Jeff finally has pieces to build their program around for the coming years. One of the players at the center of this revitalization is the youngest Coleman brother, Tre’, due to his emergence as a freshman.
“He’s (Tre’) a very, very hard worker but he’s also a very smart basketball player and I think understanding the game the way he does and having that work ethic, and great motor has made him have an outstanding freshmen year,” raved Luce.
Tre’ is a 6-foot-5, 170 pounds freshman center who has shown flashes of greatness all season with his shot-blocking ability and athleticism. He’s earned a starting role on the Varsity squad, and has proven to play well beyond his years.
“I’m extremely proud. I know that they are just beginning to show what they can do,” said Tiffany Coleman, Jaden and Tre’s mother. “Tre' has so much more that he hasn’t even done yet, and I can’t wait to see his potential. I think he’s going to be a star.”
The older Jaden is in a different situation than his brother, Tre’.
After transferring from Rock Creek High School, where he played Varsity basketball, Jaden was forced to only play on the junior varsity level for the Red Devils this season. The junior wasn’t cleared by the IHSAA, forcing Jaden to sit out one calendar year for transferring schools. He is eligible to return to play during the 2017-18 season, his senior year.
“It has been kinda boring. I don’t really play my hardest to be honest,” explained Jaden. “I can do anything I want basically. I can score in all ways, but that’s not just on JV though. I feel like I can do it on the Varsity level, too.”
One game in particular stood out with Jaden on JV. In the fourth quarter, Jeffersonville had a small lead over rival Floyd Central. Coleman was at the line shooting free throws as he heard chants of “he’s a junior” behind him in the FC student section.
Moments after hearing those chants, Jaden threw down a monstrous windmill dunk on the next possession that silenced the opposing crowd for the rest of the game.
Despite not playing Varsity, Jaden has made the most of his season. He has shown off his athleticism by thundering down dunks during every game. The Jeffersonville crowd has been able to see glimpses of an essential part of the Red Devils squad with Jaden playing in the early games.
“The biggest thing with Jaden that he has done above just playing great on the JV is that he has made himself a part of the Varsity basketball team in the locker room and in practice, and I don’t think there will be much transition when it comes to him fitting him and doing his thing,” said Luce.
Jaden is able to use his athleticism to bully opponents on the boards and doesn’t shy away from the chance of putting someone on a poster. Jeffersonville is looking forward to being able to use his abilities next season with most of their roster returning.
“Obviously he will bring a different level of athleticism to our team,” Luce said. “He’s going to draw crowds and spectators just based on what he’s capable of doing above the rim, but he’s much more than just a dunker and a scorer. He is an outstanding rebounder and could be our best defender if he wants to be.”
With Jaden’s situation, the brothers were unable to play with each other this season, but that isn’t stopping them from supporting each other.
“What I love most about them not playing together right now is seeing Tre’ cheer for Jaden from the stands, and Jaden cheering for Tre’ from the stands,” Tiffany said.
Despite not being able to play together in a real game, the brothers have been able to practice together all season, and push each other to improve. Those practices are the only time anyone can really see how well they play off each other, and push themselves to become better players overall.
“You can really see their closeness and respect that they have for eachother when they matchup and compete against each other in practice,” said Luce. “Both try to outdo each other, they take the ball right at each other and they do it with a competitive nature every time that they go at each other, there is no messing around, no games that are played they just really try to make each other better.”
Both Coleman brothers’ connection goes deeper than just being with each other everyday on the basketball court.
On their upper left arm they each have a tattoo, with the word “family” written under a clock. The tattoo, to them, symbolizes the deep bond they have for each other.
“He (Tre’) is my little brother, we do everything together, we just have that bond. Everybody moved out so it’s just me, him and my mom, so it’s basically just me and him,” said Jaden, emphatically.
They possess that certain special bond as brothers and will finally be able to play together for one year instead of either one having to cheer for the other brother on the sidelines. Despite the situation with Jaden this season, some people are already looking forward to see what next year holds.
“If it wasn’t for Jaden’s ineligibility, this would be the first time I would get to see them play together, so you can imagine I’m counting down until next year,” Tiffany said.