Teen Basketball Star with Known Heart Murmur Dies During Game

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Copyright 2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 29, 2013 Tuesday
First Replate Edition
471 words
Phenomenal person, star player dies
Michael Carvell, Marcus K. Garner; Staff

Terrell Coleman had a heart condition, but was cleared to play.

Terrell Coleman was destined to be a basketball star. Even if it meant playing with a heart condition.

That was the consensus among the youth coaches who saw him up close and the recruiting analysts and college coaches who had him pegged as one of the nation's best.

The 15-year-old Miller Grove High School freshman's potential will never be realized. He died Sunday during an all-star basketball game. Coaches knew Coleman had been diagnosed with a heart murmur, but since he had been cleared to play, no one expected the ending.

"It's a tragic situation for Terrell's family, and all of us," Miller Grove coach Sharman White said Monday. "He was a phenomenal basketball player, but I truly have to say he was even a better person. He had a glow about him that was just remarkable."

Coleman was the second metro Atlanta high school athlete to die in as many months while competing. On Aug. 16, Creekside High School junior De'Antre Turman died after breaking his neck in a football scrimmage. In January, a Buford 12-year-old died after collapsing during a basketball game.

Coleman was ranked as a four-star prospect and as the nation's No. 13 overall prospect for 2017 by Future150.com. The website projected Coleman, who was nicknamed "Too Tall," to sign with a major college.

"He was supposed to have Florida State come watch him work out Monday," said Chris Anderson, who coached Coleman on the Atlanta Celtics traveling youth team.

Coleman was playing in a local Amateur Athletic Union all-star game Sunday when he died. Anderson said the teen played about 10 minutes, then went to the bench.

"He started having seizures," Anderson said.

The game was played at Action Sports Academy in DeKalb County, where director Eric Smith echoed the words of others. Coleman wasn't only a star basketball player, but an outstanding young man. Anderson said Coleman started playing with AAU teams when he was in sixth grade as an outsized 11-year-old.

"He was a big, chubby 5-11 kid," Anderson said. "But he was extremely fast. For a 5-11 kid, he could really jump."

And off the court, Anderson said Coleman was kind-hearted.

"He was a huge personality," Anderson said. "He loved everybody. And he would spend time with little kids, which was odd for kids his age."

Coleman was expected to be an impact player at Class AAAAA powerhouse Miller Grove, which has won five state championships in a row. Miller Grove was scheduled to start its practices for the 2013-14 season Monday.

"For something like this to happen, it's tough. It's a tough day for us today here at Miller Grove," White said.

DeKalb County School officials made grief counselors available Monday morning to Coleman's Miller Grove High teammates and to other students at the school.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.

October 29, 2013

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