Back to the beginning: Jarron Coleman returns to help lead Ball State Men's Basketball

Redshirt junior guard Jarron Coleman goes for a basket in a game against Buffalo Jan. 24 at Worthen Arena. Coleman scored 27 points during the game. Amber Pietz, DN
Redshirt junior guard Jarron Coleman goes for a basket in a game against Buffalo Jan. 24 at Worthen Arena. Coleman scored 27 points during the game. Amber Pietz, DN


That is the one word redshirt junior guard Jarron ‘Boogie’ Coleman used to describe the Ball State Men’s Basketball program. 

“[Ball State] just did a great job of showing me that it was gonna be a family here, and they were gonna help me get better,” Coleman said. “They just invested a lot of time and effort into getting me, so I thought that they wanted me most.”

After two standout seasons with the Cardinals, Coleman departed via the transfer portal to play for Missouri for one year before ultimately deciding to return to his basketball family in Muncie. 

Coleman is known to be a very versatile guard who virtually does it all for his team. So far this season, Coleman is averaging a team-high 14.9 points per game to go with 5.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals. 

Ball State alumnus and assistant coach Ben Botts said not only has Coleman’s talent improved since he first arrived in Muncie, but his mind and leadership skills have grown as well. 

“On the court, his knowledge of the game [has improved], and he's a very high-IQ guy. He sees plays before they happen,” Botts said. “He can help the rest of our guys, particularly younger guys, like the  [sophomore center] Payton Sparks' of the world who haven't played as much basketball. Off the court, he's grown up, he's more mature.”

Coleman credits Botts for helping his progression as a player. 

“Coach Botts, that's my guy,” Coleman said. “He's been around since I came in, so that's my dog … Botts has the resume as a player, so he always tries to come to me and tell me what he sees and what he thinks I should or shouldn't do, and I always value what he has to bring.” 

Junior guard Luke Bumbalough, who began his Ball State career the same time Coleman began his, said that at first, when Coleman left, he was disappointed, but once he knew he would be returning, he knew what the future for the program held. 

“[It was] a new challenge and opportunity for him to play at a higher level, but I'm glad he's back. He called me before he made the decision, and we talked on the phone, and he was like, ‘I'm thinking about coming back,’ and I was like ‘Let's do it,’ and I was super excited because I know that with him here, we have a chance to go to the tournament,” he said. “We have a chance to be a really good team and bring more fans out.” 

Botts echoed this mindset, recognizing Coleman’s importance for the Cardinals. 

“Jarron and I have been through a lot together, a lot of good times, and we battled through a few things. It's nice to have him back,” Botts said. “College basketball isn't easy, but he's been through four seasons of it now, so it's nice to have somebody that's been through it, and he can use not only his talent but his experience as well to help us take the next step this year.” 

Following a strong campaign at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis where he was named an Indiana All-Star his junior and senior years, Coleman arrived in Muncie in 2018-19 and redshirted his freshman season. After sitting out for an entire year, he knew he needed to make the most of his next one. 

“My mentality going in was to not make my redshirt year be a waste of time,” he said. “So, I wanted to just come full steam ahead and just not waste our time because I already missed out on a year.”

Coleman kept that promise of making the most of his “freshman” season. 

That year, he was named the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Freshman of the Year, and he placed on the MAC All-Freshman team after finishing the season as the highest scoring freshman in conference play. Coleman was an integral part of a Cardinal team that held a share of the MAC West Division title as well as the third seed in the conference tournament, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He believes the team could’ve won it that season. 

In his redshirt sophomore year, he continued to improve. He averaged around 13.8 points per game to go with 5.2 rebounds on a 47 percent shooting accuracy (42 percent from the 3-point range). 

In the first round of the MAC tournament against the one seed Toledo, Coleman went for 33 points, still his career high, in the overtime loss which would prove to be his final game with the Cardinals. 

Following the season, he ended up putting his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal, being picked up by the Missouri Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). There, he started 21 games and led the team in assists. 

This lone season with the Tigers was a learning affair for Coleman, and he is bringing back the knowledge he gained to Ball State.

“It was a great experience. I got to experience a lot of different things,” Coleman said. “I had to live a different lifestyle, just being far from home without really coming back. I learned a lot, grew a lot and I hope to bring back my experiences.”

Although Coleman is known for his abilities and talent on the court, he describes himself as “just a guy who wants to have fun and be there for his team, his friends and for his people in general.” 

Bumbalough added that he was the team joker. 

“He's got a great sense of humor,” Bumbalough said. “He's always joking around, but on the court, he's just a playmaker. He does a lot for the team. We can just do a lot of different things with him on the floor.” 

While Coleman’s end goal this season is a MAC championship and a subsequent NCAA tournament berth, his ultimate goal is simple. 

“Be successful, provide for my family and just be happy.”

Contact Derran Cobb with comments at or on Twitter @Derran_cobb.


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