The crowd roared approval as Bennett motioned Coleman to replace Kihei Clark. Coleman popped off his warm-up shirt, tucked in his No. 12 jersey and prepared himself for a memory he’ll savor for the rest of his life.
Understand that the season is not over for Coleman or UVA. The Cavaliers on Thursday will begin postseason play with a quarterfinal game in the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. The 13th-ranked Wahoos have plenty left to accomplish, but few moments will match the unabashed joy they experienced last weekend when Coleman took the court.
Once Coleman gained possession of the ball, he looked to the bench to see what play Bennett wanted to run. Except all the winningest coach in UVA men’s basketball history did was wave his hand.
Coleman, who entered with just 20 career points over 119 games in a Virginia uniform, had the green light.
“You don’t get many opportunities from a man like Coach Bennett where he says, ‘Go do your thing.’” Coleman said.