Ben Coleman (basketball)

Last updated
Ben Coleman
Personal information
Born(1961-11-14)November 14, 1961
Minneapolis, Minnesota
DiedJanuary 6, 2019(2019-01-06) (aged 57)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school North (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
NBA draft 1984 / Round: 2 / Pick: 37th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career1984–1997
Position Power forward
Number40, 54, 44, 51
Career history
1984–1986 Stefanel Trieste
19861988 New Jersey Nets
19881989 Philadelphia 76ers
1989–1990 Milwaukee Bucks
1990–1991 Elosúa León
1991–1992 FC Barcelona Bàsquet
1992–1993 Argal Huesca
1993–1994 Rapid City Thrillers
1994 Detroit Pistons
1994 Burghy Roma
1994–1995 Panapesca Montecatini
1996–1997 Sioux Falls Skyforce
1997 Omaha Racers
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× Second-team All-ACC (1983, 1984)
Stats   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg at
Stats at

Benjamin Coleman (November 14, 1961 – January 6, 2019) was an American professional basketball player. In college, he played for the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland. Professionally, he played five seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as well as in Italy and Spain.


Early life

Coleman was born on November 14, 1961 in Minneapolis. He played basketball at North Community High School. After graduation, he received a scholarship to play at the University of Minnesota. In 1979, he became the first player from Minneapolis North to receive a scholarship from a Division I college. He was also the first African-American player from a Minneapolis City Conference school to play for Minnesota. [1]

He spent much of his time at Minnesota coming off the bench. In his redshirt freshman year of 1980–1981, he averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. After that season, he decided to transfer to the University of Maryland. Coleman commented that he was able to make a statement for his community by playing for his hometown Gophers, but also faced a lot of pressure playing there. Under transfer rules, he sat out the 1981–1982 season. [1]

At Maryland, Coleman teamed up with Len Bias, who went on to be the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. He won two All-ACC honors and helped the team to the 1984 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 1984 NCAA Tournament. [2]

After graduation, he was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the second round (37th overall) in the 1984 NBA Draft. He did not make the Bulls roster and decided to sign with Stefanel Trieste in Italy's Serie A. The Bulls traded his rights to the Portland Trail Blazers for Mike Smrek, but he again failed to make the team and returned to Italy. [3] After two years in Italy, he returned to the United States and signed with the New Jersey Nets.

In the middle of his second season with the Nets, New Jersey traded him and Mike Gminski to the Philadelphia 76ers for Roy Hinson and Tim McCormick. He played the remainder of the 1988–89 season in Philadelphia. Before the 1989–90 NBA season, he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks but his season was cut short due to injury in February and he was waived. [3]

The following season he began a three-year stint in Spain, signing with Baloncesto León in Spain. He moved to FC Barcelona and CB Peñas Huesca. [3]

For the 1983–84 NBA season, Coleman returned to the U.S. with the Rapid City Thrillers of the Continental Basketball Association. He signed a ten-day contract with the Detroit Pistons. After Detroit did not retain him, he played on a rest-of-season contract with Roma and the following season with Montecatiniterme Basketball in Italy. [3]

He ended his playing career with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Omaha Racers of the CBA. [3]

After he retired, Coleman coached in the greater Minneapolis area with the private coaching service, CoachUp. [4]

Coleman died on January 6, 2019 at age 57. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 Christensen, Joe (January 7, 2019). "Former Minneapolis North star, ex-Gophers player Ben Coleman dies at 57". Star Tribune . Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  2. "Ben Coleman, a key to Maryland's 1984 ACC basketball championship, dies at age 57". Baltimore Sun. 2019-01-09.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Fallece 'Ben' Coleman III, un gran pilar de la historia del Baloncesto León". LeoNoticias (in Spanish). 2019-01-08.