Navy women’s basketball senior Jennifer Coleman recently spoke with PressBox about what she’s majoring in at the Naval Academy, what’s so special about Army-Navy games and more. The 5-foot-9 Coleman averaged 17.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals last year.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Jennifer Coleman: When I was young, [my parents] put me in about every sport or anything active you could think of like softball, track, karate, soccer, anything just to see what I would like, and basketball kind of took the lead and it won out. It’s what I loved.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Navy?
JC: I chose Navy just because I got the opportunity to play Division I basketball, which was a goal of mine, and also have an amazing opportunity post-graduation … and it’s also a great institution academic-wise, so I just thought it hit every point for me and it got me everything I wanted.

PB: What are you majoring in?
JC: I’m majoring in Cyber Operations. I chose cyber just because it’s such an expanding field. I think it’ll just be a very useful degree and also because I like it. I really like it. I enjoy the policy aspect of it and also the technical [side]. Everybody here has to take a basic cyber class freshman year, and I kind of fell in love with it there making a website, so I just stuck with it.

PB: What is your favorite memory so far at Navy?
JC: Just the environment of the Army-Navy game, playing is different. It’s electric. It’s like a rivalry. I just think the environment of playing those games has been fun.

PB: What’s so special about playing in Army-Navy games?
JC: It’s just the rivalry, and I don’t even know if you could get it if you’re not going here, but we just have this rivalry. It’s “Beat Army” in everything we do. It’s written on our shirts. It’s engrained in us since Day 1. When we turn our corners, we say, “Beat Army.” It’s just a rivalry like no other. You just really want to beat them. We have the Star Series and just who’s winning [with] Army-Navy, so it’s a great rivalry.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about Navy and Annapolis?
JC: I’d just say the opportunities that it provides as far as networking and after-graduation opportunities there are big. My favorite part about Annapolis is just the friendliness and environment that it has. There are always tourists, there are always people walking around. You go to [downtown Annapolis], it’s just a good vibe down there. The people love Mids. It’s awesome.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
JC: I would say Darryl Langford. She actually joined back on the team [after playing as a freshman in 2018-19]. We’ve been together since plebe year. She’s become like a sister to me, been to my house for Thanksgiving and things like that.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
JC: I would say Kyrie Irving. I’ve watched a lot of Kyrie Irving, just the way he can finish at the rim, his handle on the ball. It’s like he has the ball on a string. I just love watching him play — watch highlights on highlights on highlights. I love Kyrie.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to at Navy when you got there?
JC: Taylor Dunham. She was a senior when I was at the [Naval Academy Prep School]. I took some visits here and got to meet with her and talk to her. We just formed a relationship. She just told me about the academy and kind of walked me through it and kept it real with me. Her game was great here. She was a 1,000-point scorer. She just had a good career here and kind of showed me the ropes before I even got here. I never played with her, but she was definitely a big person I looked up to here.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
JC: There are going to be hard times. There are going to be tough times. There are going to be challenges. But never get too down on the lows and never get too high on the highs. Stay level-headed and just keep pushing, it’ll all work out.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
JC: I think for after graduation after basketball I’ll be becoming a Surface Warfare Officer if everything works out for me. I think just doing my five years or how many ever years I am there, and hopefully after I get out of the Navy get into some coaching.

Photo Credit: Phil Hoffmann/Navy Athletics

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10