2010 (Senior):HEADER SHERRON MARLON COLLINS Point Guard University of Kansas Jayhawks #4 5:10.3-217 Chicago, Illinois Richard T. Crane Technical High School
OVERVIEW Collins was a four-year letterman and team captain at Kansas with the efficient ball-handling skills to be an effective point guard at the next level despite less-than-ideal size. After patiently waiting for his opportunity to start, as he was relegated to a supporting role on a team that featured future NBA draft picks Darrell Arthur, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson, he led the Jayhawks to victory in 60 of his final 71 games.
While the talent level at Kansas prevented Collins from starting early in his career, he almost blew his opportunity to start, thanks to injury and conditioning issues that did not endear him to the coaching staff in 2007. Following his sophomore season, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
When he reported back to school in August 2008, he arrived overweight and in no condition to play basketball. Head coach Bill Self was not pleased with Collins' lack of determination in conditioning and rehabilitation.
"He didn't do what he was supposed to do in the summer," Jayhawks assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said. "It's hard when you're not doing the right things to tell everybody else how to do it ... but he came in and sat down, talked to me and coach Self about the issues he had this summer.
"As coaches," Townsend continued, "we expect these guys to be machines and be in the gym all the time and lifting weights. When you sit back and think about a 20-year-old, 21-year-old kid who's got all these things on his plate that he's got to handle like a man, I've never been through that kind of stuff. It's hard. And you feel for him and say, 'Let's go from now and get yourself ready to go.'"
Collins followed through and got in shape in time for the 2008-09 season. The team belonged to him -- it was a team with two other multiyear lettermen, walk-ons Matt Kleinmann and Brennan Bechard. Collins led the Jayhawks a 27-8 record, as he scored a career-best 18.9 points per game, had a career-high 101 rebounds and also generated 174 assists, another career-best.
The extra weight on his frame was a problem prior to the start of his junior season, but Collins all too often has had to bear a heavy burden. His upbringing in Chicago was difficult, with a father in and out of jail and gang life around him. He lost his best friend to gunfire at the age of 16.
He also had to deal with the death of his infant son in June 2006 and a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who accused him of exposing himself and rubbing against her in an elevator in May 2007. The suit was dismissed in November.
Knowing that the team was entrusted to him, Collins matured both on and off the court. He would close out his career with 1,888 points, the fifth-best total in school history. He showed great range as a perimeter shooter, as his 232 successful three-point field goals placed him fourth on the KU all-time record chart.
Collins concluded his career ranked 19th in Jayhawks history with 145 steals. His 552 assists placed him seventh among Kansas' all-time leaders. Despite standing a shade over 5:10, he was also capable of crashing the boards, totaling 337 rebounds in 143 games for KU.
Collins was a three-sport standout (basketball, baseball and football) at Chicago's Crane Technical Prep High School and was recruited by colleges in all three sports. He was regarded as the second best point guard in the nation by Scout.com and was considered one of the two best Class of 2006 basketball prospects in the state of Illinois (along with Jon Scheyer).
As a senior, Collins averaged 33.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and six assists per game for the Cougars. He earned Parade and McDonald's All-American honors, in addition to being a first-team All-State selection in 2006. Rivals.com rated him the nation's fourth-best point guard and 21st-best overall prospect in the country.
He guided the basketball team to a pair of conference and city championship titles (2003 and '05). His best game was a 45-point effort vs. Whitney Young Magnet High during his senior season. ESPN also named him to the Illinois Prep All-Decade Team. As a junior, he averaged 19.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
After his final year, Collins competed in the Michael Jordan All-American Classic in April, 2006. He was a standout wide receiver/free safety on the Crane Tech. He broke the Chicago Public League record with 250 receiving yards vs. Carver High as a sophomore. He was also a pitching standout on the Crane baseball team.
As a freshman at Kansas in 2006-07, Collins was an honorable mention All-Big Twelve Conference selection and a unanimous pick to the Big Twelve All-Rookie team. He averaged 22.3 minutes and 9.3 points per game, leading the team in scoring five times and in assists on 12 occasions.
One of his most memorable efforts was when he scored 20 points vs. Texas on March 11th in the 88-84 overtime Big Twelve Tournament champion-ship game victory. He was also a solid student, earning KU Athletic Director's and Big Twelve Commissioner's honor roll recognition in the spring of 2007.
In his second season with the Jayhawks, Collins won the 2008 Big Twelve "Sixth Man" Award, despite being hampered by left knee problems and a left foot stress fracture that forced him to miss six games and then undergo surgery to repair his knee after the season. He helped Kansas capture the 2008 national championship, averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 assists in the NCAA tournament.
Collins made two key plays in the title game vs. Memphis. The first came when he stole an inbounds pass with less than two minutes remaining in regulation and Kansas trailing by seven, then hitting a three to cut the deficit to four. Later, with seconds remaining in regulation and with Kansas trailing by three, he took the ball down the court following a Memphis free throw, barely escaping fouls, and passed the ball to teammate Mario Chalmers, who made a three-pointer to tie the game with two seconds remaining. Kansas would go on to win in overtime.
Collins was the top returning scorer for the 2008-09 Jayhawks' team, that saw every starter from the previous year's National Championship team graduate or depart for the NBA. He was selected as a Bob Cousy Award finalist and was also a candidate for the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Named team captain, he became the vocal leader for KU and was awarded the team's Danny Manning MVP award with Cole Aldrich following the season.
As a junior, Collins led Kansas in points (661), minutes (1,229), assists (174) and free-throw percentage (79.5). He led the team in scoring in 27 games, including the final 10 of the season, finishing third in scoring and fourth in assists in the Big Twelve Conference. He made 35 consecutive free throws over an eight game span from Jan. 10-Feb. 2 to set KU's all-time record.
Collins was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Twelve Conference team and earned second-team All-American honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBW) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that year. After flirting with leaving school and applying for the 2009 NBA Draft, Collins announced on April 13, 2009, that he would return to Kansas for his final season.
In 2009-10, Collins was awarded the 2010 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which recognizes a seniors male basketball player 6 feet (1.8 m) and shorter, who excel in both academics and athletics. He was one of five finalists for the Wooden Award and picked up first-team All-American honors from the USBWA and NABC.
He was chosen the Most Outstanding Player Award of the 2010 Big Twelve Tournament after leading Kansas to the championship. In his final season, Collins led KU with an average of 14.9 points per game, as he made a career-best 85.5 percent of his free throws and shot 42.6 percent from the field. He doled out 161 assists, as he had 39 steals and registered 75 rebounds.
2009-10 SEASON USBWA and NABC All-American first-team selection, adding second-team honors from The NBA Draft Report, The Sporting News and Associated Press...Unanimous All-Big Twelve Conference first-team pick...Recipient of the Mr. Jayhawk Award and the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award...Winner of the NABC Senior Achievement Award...Named Lute Olson Player of the Year by Collegeinsider.com...Member of the USBWA All-District VI team...Oscar Robinson Award (USBWA) and Bob Cousy Award finalist...Selected the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Twelve Championship Tournament...Started every game at point guard (36), leading the team in scoring with 558 points (15.5 points per game)...Hit on 185-of-434 field goals (42.6 percent), including 70-of-189 (37.0 percent) from three-point range, while leading the team with 118-of-138 free throws (85.5 percent)...Grabbed 75 rebounds (2.1 rebounds per game), as he posted a team-best 161 assists and recorded 39 steals...Charged with 60 personal fouls and turned the ball over 85 times...Scored in double figures 30 times and had at least five assists in 18 contests...Credited with multiple steals in 10 games.
2008-09 SEASON Second-team All-American selection by the NABC and USBWA, adding third-team honors from The Sporting News...All-Big Twelve Conference first-team choice and a member of the NABC All-District VIII first-team...Finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy...Started 35 games at point guard, leading the team in scoring with a career-best 18.9 point average (661 points)...Finished ninth in the conference with a .434 field goal percentage (226-of-521), hitting on 77-of-205 three-pointers (37.6 percent)...Led the team and ranked ninth in the Big Twelve by making 79.5 percent of his free throws (132-of-166)...Finished fourth in the league with a career-high 174 assists (5.0 assists per game)...Totaled 101 rebounds and 39 steals...Led the team in scoring 27 times and in assists 25 times...Scored at least 20 points in twelve contests.
2007-08 SEASON Was one of the first players off the bench in KU's national championship season, having played in 34 games with three starts...Missed six contests with a left knee sprain and left foot stress fracture (knee required surgery after the season)...Still managed to win the Big Twelve's Sixth Man Award...Scored in double figures fifteen times, including in each of his three starts...Scored 315 points (9.3 points per game) behind 116-of-251 field goals (46.2 percent), 38-of-105 treys (36.2 percent) and 45-of-58 free throws (77.6 percent)...Grabbed 74 rebounds, as he dished out 105 assists, blocked three shots and generated 39 steals.
2006-07 SEASON Member of the Big Twelve Conference All-Rookie team, as he averaged 22.3 minutes and 9.3 points per contest...An All-Big Twelve honorable mention, Collins averaged 11.3 points and 25.3 minutes in conference competition....Ranked second on the team with a .766 free throw percentage (49-of-64), as he tallied 354 points (129-of-270 FGs, 47-of-116 treys)...Collected 87 rebounds, as he was credited with 112 assists and 28 steals...Was named to the Kansas Athletic Director's and Big Twelve Commissioner's honor rolls (spring 2007).
CAREER NOTES Collins is the all-time winningest Jayhawk over a four-year span with 130 victories, and he holds the school record for most consecutive free throws, as he made 35 consecutive free-throws over an eight-game span (1/10 to 2/02/09)...Ranks fifth in school history in scoring with 1,888 points...Successful on 232 three-point field goals, the fourth-best total in school history...placed seventh in school annals with 552 assists...Finished 19th on the school career-record list with 145 steals.
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Richard T. Crane Technical Prep (Chicago, Ill.), playing basketball for head coach Anthony Longstreet...Was a three-sport standout (basketball, baseball and football) and recruited by colleges in all three sports...Regarded as the second-best point guard recruit in the nation by Scout.com and was considered one of the two best Class of 2006 basketball prospects in the state of Illinois (along with Jon Scheyer)...As a senior, Collins averaged 33.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and six assists per game for the Cougars...Earned Parade and McDonald's All-American honors, in addition to being a first-team All-State selection in 2006...Rivals.com rated him the nation's fourth-best point guard and 21st-best overall prospect in the country...Guided the hoops team to a pair of conference and city championship titles (2003 and 2005)...His best game was a 45-point effort vs. Whitney Young Magnet High during his senior season...ESPN named him to the Illinois Prep All-Decade Team...As a junior, he averaged 19.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game...After his final year, Collins competed in the Michael Jordan All-American Classic in April, 2006...Standout wide receiver/free safety on the Crane Tech...Broke the Chicago Public League record with 250 receiving yards vs. Carver High as a sophomore...Was also a pitching standout on the Crane baseball team.
PERSONAL African and African American Studies major, earning Kansas Athletic Director's and Big Twelve Commissioner's honor roll recognition in each of his last three years...Son of Stacey Harris...Born Sherron Marlon Collins on 3/18/87 in Chicago, Illinois.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: While most scouts are concerned about his conditioning issues earlier in his career (was overweight coming off knee surgery in 2008), Collins might have quieted some of those concerns when he arrived at the Chicago pre-draft camp with just 12 percent body fat...He does lack ideal size for a point guard, but he makes up for it with above-average quickness and the power to withstand physical play and even overpower some wiry opponents he'll check at point guard...His quickness allows him to excel in an up-tempo game and he is exceptional leading the break...Has an explosive initial step, good balance and strong leg drive to get into the lanes and penetrate, even when challenged by the more physical forward types...
Has NBA-caliber shooting range, making 37.7 percent of his three-point attempts at Kansas...Draws contact and finishes at the basket...Has shown marked improvement at the charity stripe (85.5 percent as a senior and 80.8 percent for his career) and his ability to draw fouls will be an added bonus at the next level...Also compensates for a lack of size with a high basketball IQ, court vision and an aggressive work ethic, as he seems to have become less enamored with his own shot and started to create scoring opportunities for others the last two years...Lacks great length and has a short wing span, but has a knack for being in position to mirror quicker guards along the perimeter...On catch-and-shoot plays, he works hard in attempts to create space for himself coming off screens...Moves well in transition in attempts to finish, doing a nice job of elevating to sink a soft floater...Has the ability to distribute the ball on dish-and-drive situations...Demonstrates a smooth shooting stroke firing the ball up from the pick-and-roll...Very conscious of ball security, as his assist/turnover ratio was close to 2/1 in his final season (161 assists/85 turnovers)...Pushes the ball up and down the court and has great vision, spotting defensive rotations quickly to get the ball to an open outlet...Despite his short frame, he has no regard for his own safety, aggressively driving to the basket...Has the ability to instantly shoot the ball when he gets it into his hands...Does a good job of firing jumpers coming off the dribble...His balance and body control are evident in the way he can set his feet and accurately shoot coming around screens...Has a high release point and pure shooting mechanics with NBA-caliber three-point range, ranking fourth in KU history with 232 three-pointers...Will live and die with his crossover dribble, as he knows he has the strength and quickness to get his shot off vs. passive defenders and has that great balance to stop in an instant.
Negatives: Some analysts and scouts continue to dwell on his poor conditioning in the offseason, but of more concern is that 5-foot-10, 217-pound guards with such a short wing span (6-2 1/2) and poor standing reach (7-10) will make it difficult for him to get enough elevation on his shot at the next level and contest shots at the perimeter...Had a great junior season as a scorer, but seemed to regress as a senior (might have tried to do too much and carry the offense), as he shot a career-low 42.6 percent from the field...Needs to become a pure point guard who looks to create shots for others first, as too often he got into trouble by trying to make the highlight reel play...Cut down his turnovers as a senior (from 115 the previous season to 85 as a senior), but still pushes the ball with an alarmingly loose handle...Might have had success finishing in the paint at the college level, but NBA guards will pressure him often and he has good vision, but might not be able to locate the open man when faced up by a bigger defender in the pros.
Compares To: JAMEER NELSON, Orlando -- From a physical standpoint, there are few who compare with Collins. How many 5-foot-10, 220-pound point guards are out there in the NBA? From a skill standpoint, he matches up to Nelson in that he is strong driving to the basket, but even though he ranked among the school's leaders in assists, he will revert to that a "shoot first" approach. Because of his limitations, he might never be a full-time starter. He's physical enough to come off the bench for stretches to disrupt and has the leadership ability to be a backup point guard, but he's also height challenged (5-foot-10), length challenged (6-foot-2 wing span) and not known for a great work ethic in the offseason. That means he will likely still be on board in the middle of the second round.