Jennifer Coleman comes after a record-breaking senior season and continues to set new standards for Navy women’s basketball.
Coleman has accepted a training camp invitation from the Washington Mystics and will be the first former Navy player to try out for the WNBA.
“We’re really excited about Jenn getting this opportunity to show off her skills on one of the biggest stages,” said third-year Navy coach Tim Taylor. “This opportunity with Mystics is a culmination of all the hard work, time and effort that Jenn has put into improving herself, both on and off the field. We are all so proud of her. ”
General manager and head coach Mike Thibault will begin Mystic’s training camp this weekend with two weeks of training sessions ahead of playing exhibition matches against the Atlanta Dream on April 24 and the Minnesota Lynx on April 27. The Mystics begin regular season action with a home game against the Indiana fever on May 6th.
“We are all so grateful to the administration here at Naval Academy for their efforts in giving Jenn this chance,” Taylor said. “I know she will represent the Naval Academy and Navy women’s basketball extremely well.”
While the Naval Academy management has given its blessing to Coleman’s participation in the two-week training camp, it is unclear whether she will be allowed to play in the WNBA. Coleman, along with several other Navy senior athletes, has submitted a request to postpone commissioning in order to practice professional sports.
Navy footballers Diego Fagot and Michael McMorris, both considered NFL prospects, have also applied for the “pro sports opportunity,” which was established by the Department of Defense during Donald Trump’s presidency. This policy, set out in Directive-Type Memorandum 19-011, allows service academy athletes to practice professional sport immediately after graduation.
Navy men’s soccer player Matt Nocita, selected as number seven overall in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft by the New York Red Bulls, has also applied. Sources told The Capital that there has been no decision by the Pentagon regarding any of the applications from Navy athletes.
Thibault was among many WNBA executives who contacted Taylor about Coleman ahead of Monday’s WNBA Draft. Questions about Coleman’s long-term availability likely affected the possibility of her being selected in the draft, which included only 88 selections over three rounds.
However, Mystics were quick to sign Coleman to the training camp contract immediately after the draft, and that news was posted on the Navy’s women’s basketball twitter account early Tuesday morning.
Coleman was one of 70 players invited to participate in the women’s basketball ProHoops Combine, held on April 2 at Concordia University in Minnesota in conjunction with the Final Four. She hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the all-star game that ended the event.
Taylor did not hesitate when asked if he thought Coleman had the ability to make a WNBA roster.
“These are hired professionals who run a business and they would not have invited Jenn to training camp if they did not think she was capable of playing at that level,” he said.
Coleman became the first female basketball player in the Navy to be named Division I All-American when she received honorable mention from the Associated Press. She was the Patriot League’s defender of the year and a first-team All-Conference committee after averaging a double-double with 22.2 points and 10.7 rebounds.
Coleman, who scored 20 points or more in 23 of 31 games, also led the Midshipmen with 149 assists. The 5-foot-9 combination guard finished seventh nationally with 21 double-doubles as a senior and finished with 37 for his career.
When all was said and done, Coleman had broken the Navy’s single-season records for total points (689), rebounds (333) and minutes played (1,179), while her 86 theft is in third place through the ages. The native of Richmond, Virginia, became the first player in the program’s history to score a 20-20 match when she scored 22 points and snatched 20 rebounds against Lafayette on 9 February.
“Jenn had a historic season and it all started last season with her commitment to being the best player and person she could be,” Taylor said. “She is now reaping the fruits of the dedication and hard work she has put in during the off-season.”
Coleman also got his name into the Navy’s record book with career stats of 1,368 points, 726 rebounds, 313 assists and 185 steals totaling over 2,661 minutes in 84 career fights. She is number three in the program history for both points (16.3) and rebounds (8.6) per. match, fifth in steals (2.2) and sixth in assists (3.7).