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Friday, October 16, 2009

Last chance

KU guard Collins excited for senior season

Kansas guard Sherron Collins said having his mom around for his senior season will help keep him focused.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins said having his mom around for his senior season will help keep him focused.

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Men's basketball gearing up for season

One day before KU's first official basketball practice players answered questions during media day. The Jayhawks jump start the season Friday with Late Night in the Phog.

Players discuss surprising elements of team

Kansas players revealed some surprises they think could be in store for opponents this season at media day Thursday, October 15, 2009.

Audio clips

2009 KU men's basketball media day

Sherron Collins — who moved out of Jayhawker Towers into an off-campus apartment for his senior year at Kansas University — has a new roommate.

That’d be his mother, Stacey.

“This is temporary,” the 22-year-old Collins said, joking with reporters about his new digs Thursday during a men’s basketball Media Day interview session in Allen Fieldhouse.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. Collins loves his mom dearly. Her name is tattooed on his left arm.

It’s just that, like most college upperclassmen, he prefers independence at this stage of his life.

“She’s going to find an apartment hopefully in the next couple days,” Collins said of Stacey Harris, who has moved from Chicago to Lawrence to take in all of her son’s home games in his final campaign at KU.

“It’s been fun. I don’t get enough time to spend with my family, especially my mom,” added Collins, who last summer was relieved to find out Stacey had been given a clean bill of health after some lumps on her body were deemed non-cancerous.

“She’s been fixing me salads every night and doing my laundry, so I don’t have much to do now. I think having her here will help me be more focused. I won’t have to worry about her as much. She’ll help me keep my head straight and be here enjoying all the moments with me.”

Collins hopes his senior season turns out to be his finest and not just because mom will see so many games.

“It’s my last chance to leave my mark,” he said.

KU’s floor general actually could leave his imprint while experiencing a decline in point production. The 5-foot-11 point guard, who averaged 18.9 points off 14.9 shots a game a year ago, might be more of a distributor this season.

“I think if he scores as many points as he did last year, I don’t see him being nearly as effective a guard,” KU coach Bill Self said, noting Collins’ supporting cast might be a tad more talented than in 2008-09.

“At the next level, he will not be judged if he can get his own shot as much as, ‘Does he make other guys on the court better?’ I still want him to look to shoot and at the end of the clock want to get the ball in his hands and let him go. We’re going to give him a ton of freedom. He just can’t abuse it.”

Collins said scoring stats have never mattered to him.

“There’s a chance my points could go down. I wouldn’t care. I just want to win,” he said.

He realizes he can help KU win by expanding his leadership role at practice and in games. Self has said Collins already is the best leader he has coached in six full seasons at KU.

“I think I did a good job of leading us when we were down, keeping everybody positive,” Collins said of last year’s Big 12 title team that finished 27-8 and advanced to the Sweet 16.

“Now it’s second nature. Sometimes I lead and don’t even know I’m doing it. It comes to me naturally.”

He has led during intense offseason pickup games — “there’s a lot more jaw-jacking this year,” he said — and during the two hours of allotted offseason practice time allowed by the NCAA the past few weeks.

“When practice is slow, I’m talking,” Collins said. “Instead of coach yelling at somebody, I might tell coach, ‘I’ve got it.’ Just talking to them (teammates) in a mannerly voice instead of them getting hollered at by coach.”

Collins received criticism from father-figure Self — “He always has my best interests at heart,” Collins said — in late June when he weighed in at 228 pounds at the Deron Williams Skills Academy in Dallas.

Collins now weighs 203 pounds and, according to Self, is in the best shape of his career at this stage of a preseason.

“It’s something I’m always concerned about. With coach ... he sometimes overblows it up, (but) every time when the ball is thrown up, I’m ready. I’m in shape. My weight is fine,” Collins said.

More than a “fine” player, Collins actually has a chance to go down as the winningest collegiate player of all time.

The former Chicago Crane High standout currently has been part of 97 victories. KU would need 40 victories this season for him to catch the Memphis trio of Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier and Chance McGrady, who were part of 137 wins. However, those three stand to see 38 wins erased as part of an NCAA decree forcing the Tigers to forfeit wins from two seasons ago because of violations.

If a Memphis appeal fails, Collins needs 36 victories to tie Shane Battier’s Duke class of players from 1998 to 2001, who claimed 133 wins.

“It’d be nice to get. I don’t try to think about it,” Collins said. “If it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, I’m just happy to be here.”

He’s here with mom and, on special occasions, his son, Sherr’mari, who visits from Chicago from time to time.

Sherr’mari is now 2 years old.

“He’s growing, getting big,” Sherron said. “He watches the games on TV. If I’m sitting at home and watching an old game, he runs to the TV and says, ‘That’s daddy. Shoot the ball. Shoot the ball.’

“He shoots and dribbles it, but not too well. He’s slamming that thing down (on the ground),” Collins added with a laugh.

If Collins’ dreams come true, he’ll be able to support his family next year with a lucrative NBA contract.

His goal is to win his second NCAA title in three years, then take his leadership skills to the pros.

“That’s my plan,” he said. “I’ve just got to listen to coach. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.”

Comments

Aligned 10 years, 3 months ago

Welcome to Kansas, Stacey!

We'll all watch this year unfold together.

Aaron Carpenter 10 years, 3 months ago

He is one of my all time favorite Jayhawks. He is as clutch of a scorer as we have ever had, but more importantly he one tough s.o.b. He has always had that intensity that makes a player great, not good.

Rock Chalk AC

suttonku 10 years, 3 months ago

If he gets us another championship then he is the greatest PG in KU history hands down...Yes we have had some great guards but Sherron Collins has the chance to be the winningest college player ever. Sherron has been a pleasure to watch for the last three years. He is a first class individual and a great player. He came from the streets of Chicago and hasn't really done anything wrong since stepping on campus. I am so excited to see him and the other Jayhawks tonight at Late Night! RCJ!

ParisHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Gosh, only 6 articles by Gary Bedore today ??? Getting slow after 25 years, are we?

Seriously, outstanding coverage of KU basketball today, including the articles not signed GB :)

yates33333 10 years, 3 months ago

Is Collins as an NBA star a shoo-in? Will his size be a problem?

Otownhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

Boys and girls. I'm ready for some Hawk Bball...

rawkhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I do think that Collins will have an NBA future. Great article. Hopefully a little less pressure on Sherron this season, and he can really let his potential shine through.

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 3 months ago

Yes Collins' size will affect his NBA payday. But there are plenty of sub-six-foot point gaurds making their living in the NBA and there's no reason to believe that he can't be successful.

I think it will be good for Collins and for the team to have his mom in Lawrence. Every team, especially a team that has a lot of freshman and sophomores, stands to benefit from having a "team mom".

Jeremy LeMaster 10 years, 3 months ago

That is a cool picture by Nick. It would make a great KU Poster!

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

yates,

I wouldn't say he's a shoe in but he's got a really good shot at making it. nbadraft.net has him as the first pick in the second round, they're usually pretty accurate: http://www.nbadraft.net/2010mock_draft

I'm sure he'll move up as the season progresses though. He should go in the first round.

ku_phanatik 10 years, 3 months ago

4 Sherron Collins/Guard - Starter 10 Tyshawn Taylor/Guard - Starter 1 Xavier Henry/Guard - Starter 21 Marcus Morris/Forward - Starter 45 Cole Aldrich/Center - Starter

13 C.J. Henry/Guard - Rotation 14 Tyrel Reed/Guard - Rotation 23 Mario Little/Forward - Rotation 22 Markieff Morris/Center - Rotation

5 Jeff Withey/Center - Reserve 12 Brady Morningstar/Guard - Reserve 0 Thomas Robinson/Forward - (Freshman) Reserve 15 Elijah Johnson/Guard - (Freshman) Reserve

41 Chase Buford/Guard - Possible Redshirt 40 Jordan Juenemann/Guard - Possible Redshirt 2 Conner Teahan/Guard - Possible Redshirt

24 Travis Releford/Guard - Redshirt 40 Jordan JuenemannGuard - Redshirt

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Exclusive:

Dateline: Jayhawker Towers, Lawrencium, KS

Sources inside KUAD revealed today that another tower will be added to the complex soon, as part of the on-going commitment to honoring Coach Self's and Coach Mangino's desires to bring KU sports infrastructure into the 21st Century. The new tower, code named "Yo Ma Maison," by insiders working on the project, will be used to house the mothers of KU basketball and football players. 115 units are planned. Every four units will be outfitted with interconnected balconies for gossip. Each unit will have a commercial grade kitchen enabling each mother's home cooking to be coordinated with training table fare to achieve optimal diet for the athletes. The complex will offer every amenity a mother could want including a beauty parlor, a small shopping mall including a Macy's, a Sears, and a Yarn Barn. However, insiders say the crowning touch will be the old fashioned log cabin style wood shed Coach Self insisted on being built outside on the ground floor nearest Allen Field House. Start of construction is yet to be determined.

Note: This be fiction.

Paul Brozik 10 years, 3 months ago

ku_phanatik

I'm positive Self is not talking about redshirting walk-ons. I think you are right about Releford. But I would add the two freshmen Johnson and Robinson to the possible redshirt list. Self said he only want to rotate 9. Why waste a year on guys who are going to sit?

I will add that Self might not want redshirt Robinson just to keep the pressure on the Morris twins.

GabrielMichael 10 years, 3 months ago

Cole said, they're staying "humble and hungry". I like it!

Perhaps that should be the team motto or team creed or creedo (if you like) for this whole season.

HUMBLE AND HUNGRY EVERY GAME GUYS!!!!

In the immortal words of John 'Bluto' Blutarsky, "LET'S DO IT! GO! GO! GO! GOOOOOOO!!!!"

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

ku_phanatik

I'm not sure, but I don't think you "redshirt" a walk-on. I think you say, "see you next year". Then again, to keep their eligibility, maybe you do!!

Based on positional depth, I think Travis and Elijah are the most likely candidates....unless something more happens with Brady [possible full year suspension].

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

PS Sorry Nick, but Sherron's picture looks like a High School Senior Yearbook photo....not that there's anything wrong with that.....as long as you're in high school.

Considering this is the first photo by you that hasn't blown me away in two years, I'd say you're still pretty friggin' amazing!!

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

Oakville - I agree, the most likely redshirts would be Releford and Elijah. Brady already has a redshirt year (and started a year later after 1 year of prep school.) Other boards have listed Robinson as potential redshirt - but that won't happen. HCBS has talked recently about how hard it will be to keep TR off the floor once he figures things out.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

jayhawkerjoel

YEP...I have been singing Mr.Robinson's praises for over a year now and I guarantee KU Nation that, someday, "The Paint" will be Mr. Robinson's nieghborhood!!!

keith horinek 10 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if Sherron's Mom will be allowed to travel with the team? that would be cool. didn't Julian Wright's Mom travel to most of the games, or am I thinking of Darrell's Mom?

ku98 10 years, 3 months ago

I think Thomas Robinson is going to be a beast for us. He is going to take minutes away from the twins, and be a nice complement to Cole inside. I think he will play significant minutes right away, just because of his intensity and his physical presence.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

jaynac the magnificient, the all-knowing, all-seeing dimwit from the east, will now make the following predictions that have been kept in a sealed Lush jar under David Letterman's office hide-a-bed:

1 Sherron/CJ/Tyrel 2 Tyshawn/CJ/Tyrel 3 Xavier/Marcus/Mario 4 Marcus/Thomas/Withey 5 Cole/Kieff/Withey

Travis, Elijah red shirt.

Brady: out first semester, maybe loses second semester, if convicted of DUI. Maybe a medical redshirt is resorted to resolve issues.

Tyshawn gets his starts, but any naps, any slumps from trey, and any timidity going to the rim and he's doing pine visualization for half a game at least.

Tyrel surprises everyone by scavenging about 15 mpg at 1, 2 and 3 spot fill-ins, because he has become in the off-season a well-rounded Division I basketball player; one who can run the floor tirelessly, exhibit improved lateral quickness, has added serious muscle, can defend the prison bodies on the perimeter, can ball handle even at point, and can shoot the trey even better than last year (now 43%).

Thomas Robinson plays well all season, despite early mental lapses on offense that garner Kieff a few more minutes than expected. But Thomas has a slump in late January that lets Withey get untracked.

Withey comes, then stumbles, then finishes strong during late February and March, giving KU decisive height in the paint, but he and Thomas share the 4 and are playing about 20 minutes a game each come March.

The combo of Withey and Thomas become so good that Self begins playing Marcus more and more at the 3 and Xavier more and more at the two, when Xavier is not at the 3. Self will get every minute he can out of Mr. OAD. Doing so either assures Xavier a Top 3 pick which is good for recruiting more OADs (and keeps Xavier happen even when CJ is wishing for more minutes), or exposes a number of flaws in Xavier's game and keeps him in Lawrence another season.

Kieff shows ten good minutes a game filling for Cole, fifteen when we don't need Cole. Cole is very fresh down the stretch and Kieff is seasoned for any injury stretches.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

When Self decides to go for the kill in any game down the stretch of the season, these five are the "Game Busters" assigned to task:

1 Sherron 2 Xavier 3 Marcus 4 Withey/Thomas (depending on match-ups) 5 Cole

This team, should it learn to play as a unit, could get ever increasing minutes and is easily the best team KU can put on the floor. Plus, it is a team that can overwhelm any team in the country.

Self has to know this: Sherron, Tyshawn, Xavier, Marcus and Cole is a team that can play any team in the country even steven.

But Sherron, Xavier, Marcus, Withey/Thomas, and Cole is a team that can flat out steam roller any team in the country and have quality reserves everywhere. It is a team for the ages. It is a team for a 40-0 season and a ring. No coach could resist at least giving it a chance to happen.

The object of the game is to get the best players on the floor that play well together. Someone always has to play out of position. Xavier is supposedly a great player. He is the ideal one to ask to play out of position at the 2. Why? Because the 2 will be his natural position in the L and because it makes us an order of magnitude more brutal in match-up advantages.

The game buster team will have match up advantages at every position every game.

Yes, Self will play many combinations the first semester. Yes, he will have an injury or two to juggle around. Yes, opposing coaches will expose weaknesses in Xavier's and Thomas' games that will have to be worked around. Yes, CJ may prove waaaaay better than I expect, and take more time from everyone at the 1, 2, and 3, thus relegating Tyrel to mop up, but...

But at money time, who ya gonna call?

Game Busters!

Rock Chalk!

Dirk Medema 10 years, 3 months ago

Didn't Brandon avg upper teens in 2008? It wouldn't seem like a huge stretch for Sherron to avg well into the teens, if not uper teens, this year also. The focus would be to see increases in his % and A, which will come as others knock down their shots.

I had TRob penciled in at PF, until I heard that Markieff had put on 30 lbs in the weightroom this summer. That's a huge change, and the extra year of experience should be enough for him to start - initially. My guess is that he still has a stronger work ethic that will move him along side Cole by the time the B12 starts.

ku_phanatik 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with most of you all about Elijah...but the reason I didn't redshirt him because every coach has to keep in mind that there my be injuries down the road. Plus Elijah could gain some experience with just 5mins here and there for future star status at KU.

I'm not really sure about walk on redshirts but I just threw their names in there anyways.

Robinson is going to be a power house, dont really see Self redshirting him. He already has a NBA body.

Plus you dont want future top recruits thinking they may have to redshirt when they first come to KU, thats bad business.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 3 months ago

I don't want anything associated with KU being found underneath DL's office hide-a-bed. That's just wrong.

Welcome Stacey, please keep your son away from those KU football players!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

ku_phanatik

excellent point. maybe you only redshirt sophomores after they have had a year to see what they can do {Releford] and maybe they come to the same conclusion

doubled96 10 years, 3 months ago

From what I've heard from "insiders", Elijah is the real deal. There is a reason HCBS says he is the most athletic player he's coached. I don't think he'll be a redshirt consideration. I actually heard he could be the most likely one and done prospect out of this class. Take it with a grain of salt as I don't want to be accused of drinking the kool-aid, but don't sleep on him, especially if he can shoot the rock as well as he finishes around the hoop. Remember this dunk? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN5a9TRm660

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate,

As retarded as your first post was about the gossip balconies & the log cabin, I must confess your most recent post about the "Gangbuster starting lineup" which will evolve as the season heads towards February is right on....

Love seeing Withey & Johnson share time at the 4 & Marcus at the 3. Nice to think of Tyshawn & CJ itching to get in there for a sub every once in awhile & exhaust the opposing O further....

You have envisioned this with a true, creative, outside of the box model -- it is splendid.

In fact, I'm gonna take what you said a step further:

40-0 is not only a goal, this is an achievement that can be accomplished this season.

To quote a man who has spent more time on Naismith court than Rupp Arena's court (owned by the city of Lexington), John Calipari in the college preview of The Sporting News:

Interviewer: "You've had teams at UMass & Memphis come close to undefeated seasons. Is that possible in today's game?"

JC: "It is & before I retire I would love to be the coach of a team that goes 40-0. People say it can't be done, it's a dream. Why not? Someone has to believe it first, and someone has to chase it. Two years ago, we did not reach our goal of being undefeated, but we won more games (38) than any school in the history of basketball."

Well, Jaybate, I'm sorry it has to come from your favorite friend (JC) who likes to pay kids/ cheat on tests/ etc, but on this point, he is entirely right:

First, someone has to believe....

I say, just to spite Calipari & his cheating ways, we need to turn on the afterburners this season & become the first team to finish 40-0. First, however... As JC, an ex Jayhawk, said himself... we have to believe...

In fact, Calipari aside, this KU squad absolutely has the talent to not only go 40-0, but go 40-0 in a big way... But first, we need to believe...

It all starts from within...

This is not a dream. This can be done...

40-0....

Believe....

KGphoto 10 years, 3 months ago

Oh, MistaJRock. You keep it real. Thanks for the insightful input.

Now go back to Wal-Mart and share the wealth.

Jaybate: Roll on.

emillasap 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate and 100:

From April 23rd article emillasap states:

"Best Lineup as I stated at the beginning of the X leaving Memphis Saga:

1 Sherron 2 X (Assuming he has the handles) 3 Marcus 4 Kief/Robinson 5 Cole

With fouls to give and the ability to switch 2's, 3's and 4's this line up WILL happen at some point. Someone tell me how ANY team can match up? I think Kansas is just going to throttle many opponents next year. I don't have time to get into the possibilities with the bench. 1 to 1.5 odds on an NC"

I couldn"t agree more. Guess I forgot about Withey.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

MistaJRock,

Your handle...now that's old and tired!

:-)

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

100,

You have to admit: the number of mothers of basketball players living in Lawrence is getting comically conspicuous now?

Mother Collins Mother Morris Mother Henry Mother Morningstar Mother Taylor (?)

That's not a bad starting five!

Question: are all their apartments and yobs counted as line items in the athletic budget by Lew? the NCAA?

Coach Self is not only like a father to these players, he is apparently like a husband to these mothers. They flock to him.

Lawrence is beginning to look vaguely like southeast Utah!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

emillasap,

U da man...firstest wi' da mostest.

But we respect you without you telling us "You don't want to be an I told you so, but you told us so." :-)

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