Originally published October 14, 2008 at 10:30a.m., updated October 15, 2008 at 12:00a.m.
Sherron Collins went on a special diet last week.
"Ice cream, popsicles, yogurt," said Collins, Kansas University's 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior basketball point guard, whose choices of food had nothing to do with his much publicized fluctuations in weight.
He had his tonsils removed Oct. 7, leaving his throat in no condition for solid matter.
"I was out a few days. It (throat) hurt and I couldn't eat, but it turned out fine. I'm back now," Collins added.
Deeming himself 100 percent healed from offseason arthroscopic left knee surgery and "really close" to his desired weight of 195, Collins said he's looking forward to Friday's Late Night in the Phog (6:30 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse) and the beginning of his junior year.
It's a year of high personal expectations.
Big 12 basketball coaches on Tuesday voted Collins to the five-player Preseason All-League team. He was joined by Texas' Damion James and A.J. Abrams, Baylor's Curtis Jerrells and Oklahoma's Blake Griffin.
Griffin was named preseason player of the year, while KU's Mario Little of Chipola (Fla.) Community College was newcomer of the year and Oklahoma's Willie Warren freshman of the year.
"I am thankful to the coaches for picking me," Collins said. "It motivates me to work harder. Choosing me for this preseason achievement .... it's more a target on my back now. I'm not worried about individual things. I'm just worried about the team and getting better because we're really young."
Collins said he's ready to grasp a leadership role that goes with being starting point guard for a defending national title team that returns zero starters.
"I'm a junior. I'm the 'vet.' A lot of things depend on me, Cole as well," Collins said of sophomore Cole Aldrich.
Collins has already bounced back in the eyes of his head coach, Bill Self, who last week said, "Sherron's been great," after being critical of Collins in August for reporting to school overweight.
"I got a little bit off track," Collins said. "Coming back, coach criticized me. I was out of shape. He told the truth, didn't lie about it at all. It helped me. I've worked hard to get really close to my 195 (pound goal)."
Collins said he lost track of his weight during a 2 1â2-week trip to his hometown of Chicago that preceded the start of first semester classes.
"I was still coming off my knee 'scope. I couldn't really do anything (but) I could have controlled it (weight) a little more," Collins said.
Self last week said Collins needed to be the "best-conditioned player in our league because he will take more shots than anybody in our league.
"I don't know if he'll get 20 off, (but) I really believe he can attempt in that 18-range average for the year. If he does that and makes half of them, you are looking at a guy who averages 22 (points) a game. You've got to be in great shape to be able to get your own shot like he'll have to. Defenses will be designed to stop him," Self said.
Collins is ready to do whatever is asked.
"Coach told me I will have to take a lot of shots in the game. It's my first time hearing it. We'll see what happens," Collins said. "I'm excited just being the position I will be in on the floor. I'm excited to lead the team, to be the leader I'm supposed to be."
He said he won't be discussing his NBA options until after his junior season.
"I'm not even thinking about that right now," he said of possibly entering the 2009 Draft. "Especially now ... I'm thinking about our season. I'm really excited about the season."
¢ Honorable mention: The Big 12 all-league honorable mention team consists of Missouri's DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons, Oklahoma State's James Anderson and Byron Eaton, Texas A&M;'s Josh Carter and Bryan Davis and Texas' Connor Atchley. KU's Cole Aldrich was not recognized as honorable mention despite his strong play in last year's NCAA Tournament.
¢ KU vs. Memphis?: Memphis coach John Calipari told Memphis radio station 560 (WHBO) Tuesday that the Tigers would be playing KU next season. KU officials had no comment, indicating no contract has been signed.
¢ Langford in Italy: Former KU guard Keith Langford has signed a two-year contract with Virtus Bologna in Italy's top professional league, Langford's brother, Kevin, told lasvegassun.com. Kevin, a 6-8 senior from TCU, was in Vegas on Tuesday for Mountain West Conference Media Day. U.S. players Earl Boykins, Brett Blizzard, Jamie Arnold and Sharrod Ford are also on Langford's Bologna team.