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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keegan

Collins finds way to win — again

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KU survives Baylor, 81-75

Baylor gave the Jayhawks a run for their money Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Audio clips

2010 KU-Baylor

Reader poll

How would you grade KU's performance against Baylor's zone defense in the Jayhawks' victory Wednesday?

  • A 11% 376 votes
  • B 53% 1766 votes
  • C 27% 900 votes
  • D 5% 180 votes
  • F 1% 46 votes
  • Undecided 0% 20 votes

3288 total votes.

A tough conference opponent threw in amazing shots and teetered on the brink of a streak-busting upset when the best player in college basketball gathered his team in the huddle and restored the confidence of all his mates.

Nobody ever will hear Kansas senior guard Sherron Collins, the nation’s best player, tell anybody he doesn’t know his role.

His coach stated his leader’s role quite nicely after an 81-75 Wednesday night victory against Baylor. Not that Collins wasn’t born knowing it. His role is to do whatever it takes on a given night to lead his team to victory. On this night, that meant getting the big men off to a nice start by penetrating the gaps of a 2-3 zone by using great feel, a great handle and spectacular passing. It meant taking over a close game late by burying three-pointers, driving the baseline hard for a bucket over the giants and delivering a bounce pass to Marcus Morris inside from an unconventional angle for a bucket.

It meant gathering his teammates and saying words that let the air out of the pressure bubble.

“He got us in the huddle and said, ‘I got it. Just go with me.’ When he (points at his chest), we all know what that means,” Marcus Morris said.

Baylor did everything it could to stop KU’s 52-game homecourt winning streak, and Collins didn’t let it happen.

“Sherron’s cold-blooded,” Marcus Morris said. “He steps up and makes big shot after big shot, and the amazing thing is he does it every game. I don’t think there’s a better player in the country.”

Collins is part savage heavyweight boxer, smelling blood when he senses he has a foe on the ropes, delivering the knockout punch and then sneering at the crowd, exhorting it to get louder, louder, louder. And he’s part symphony conductor, doing everything with such precision, burying NBA-distance three-pointers and handling the ball with such care at high speeds. For a player who conducts a wire-to-wire high-speed chase, forever in pursuit of another victory, file turnovers under the cost-of-doing-business heading. Yet, for 38 minutes, Collins had the game on a string and never fumbled it. He needed just 16 field-goal attempts and six free-throw attempts to score 28 points, and he had four assists, two steals and not a single turnover.

His once-wild, always-effective game now features the sort of refinement that only comes with a blend of experience and an instinctive feel for the game. No matter the defense, he’s so hard to guard, even more so using a zone.

“You can tell if a player knows how to play by watching him play against a zone better than you can by watching him play against man-to-man,” KU coach Bill Self said. “... Usually it’s the most experienced guys who play well against a zone.”

Collins has perfected the art of using emotion to the team’s gain. He seized on Baylor coach Scott Drew’s decision to take his team off the court during the pregame video. The move didn’t sit well with Collins, teammates and coaches. They considered it disrespectful. Maybe so, but it was also smart. Visiting players tend to watch it, and it intimidates some of them. The Bears didn’t play with fear. They lost because they didn’t have Collins playing for them.

Comments

DENDK24 4 years, 3 months ago

Although Sherron isn't getting the media attention that we all think he should this year I think this article is more important. To have your peers think you are the best player in the country means way more than what the media thinks, especially with the East Coast bias

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4671803

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KUtattKat 4 years, 3 months ago

Wonderful article! This continues to prove what I've been saying since before this season - that Sherron IS the best PG in the country! Sure Wall is good and has continued to improve, but he doesn't have the experience that Sherron has and the maturity that Sherron has gained over the years! He has grown and matured SO much on and off the court, yet another great testament to staying at KU for 4 years...Rock Chalk!

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1977kufan 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom, super article!!! You are correct in every respect. SC, what a tremendous player, what a tremendous Jayhawk. Yes, the #1 college player in the country. I can't wait for the next game to see what SC will do! Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!

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kufan89 4 years, 3 months ago

Sherron is AMAZING. I love watching him, the way he plays the game with such intensity and respect. The Bears didn’t play with fear. They lost because they didn’t have Collins playing for them. Love it! ROCK CHALK ALL DAY

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David Leathers 4 years, 3 months ago

I just got done watching the Lakers and Cavs play. I may be way off here but please give your opinion, I see a LOT of Sherron Collins in Lebron James. Yes I know what you're saying: " There's a whole foot of size difference" - "Lebron can leap out of the building." - "Lebron averages 30 pts a game in the NBA, Sherron: 17, in college."

That's not what I mean folks! Calm yourselves. Lebron carries his team, they rely on him, trust him, and WANT him to have the ball when the game is tight- ditto Sherron. Lebron hits a big shot to go up by 2 with 20 seconds left, then pumps his fist hard against his chest, saying, "I HAVE HEART." - ditto Sherron. They both have an uncanny ability to carry their team to further heights and have the will to win.

Sherron has Mugsy Bogues' body and Lebron's Predator-ness.

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kuscottie 4 years, 3 months ago

I saw ESPN's Bob Ryan at the game last night? Anyone heard why he was in town? Maybe doing a story on KU??????????

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David Leathers 4 years, 3 months ago

plasticJHawk~

I listened to one of Bill Self's post-game Q&A's and he said that Sherron's legacy at KU is one thing: Winning. He said that there's no scoring legacy or assist legacy because he'd have to post 80 points a game and 20 assists per game. There is no way possible that's going to happen. There really is no point in have a ticker for his points because honestly he may crack the top 5, maybe, but that's it.

I do like the fact that he has a chance to be the winningest Jayhawk of all time though. Like Self said, "If the season goes the right way, Sherron will be the winningest Hawk in the history of the program." I'd take that right up there with points and assists.

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actorman 4 years, 3 months ago

Good list Oakville, but how could you leave off Tuby Smith, given his huge history on this site?

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KGphoto 4 years, 3 months ago

Collins is the best point guard in KU history. Certainly not before this year, but now. I've never seen a player carry a team like this. Not since Danny.

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Jonathan Allison 4 years, 3 months ago

We need some sort of a ticker on Collins' position on the all-time school scoring list. Or maybe if he caught wind of that it might distract from team unity, but seriously, is there any denying that Sherron Collins is right up there with the best guards in KU history, and arguably tops the list. He may not have NBA size, but he's got NBA talent, infinite heart, and infinite confidence. I have to agree with Keegan in saying that Collins is the best in the country. Unfortunately, by no fault of his own, he's probably a long-shot to win the POY award. That's just the way I feel about it.

Remember the blog that Jesse wrote about the advanced statistics and about how the more Collins shoots the worse our team performs offensively. This game is evidence to my point that if you look at games that KU wins by 20 or more Collins probably will have around 5 to 10 shots. If you look at games where everyone else is struggling from the field, Collins will probably shoot that many in the second half of a close game.

He knows when to take over. And he takes over. You know he's going to take over, and you try to stop it, but he still takes over.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 3 months ago

Pauline Pearce Lorelei Bird Maggie Johnson Joan Stockton Carla Malone ............................the list is endless!!!!

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sdku 4 years, 3 months ago

Aldrich will come around but we will need TT/ Xavier/Reed/Morningstar to produce more than 10-12 points a game at sometime because the Twins will meet their match at some point whether it's in the Big 12 or in March.

I'd hate to say this but this team desperately needs a struggling Sherron Collins for a couple game where he shoots horrible. What will that do this team? Well, we will know who steps up and who doesn't on the offensive side. Sherron can get us far but he can't win the Championship by himself nor should he have to. I do think the player's depend on Sherron too much. The season will tell.

If we get 20-25 points and 15 rebounds out of the twins I bet we don't lose the rest of the season.

Lastly, thank you Coach Self. I question him sometimes but he always has a reason for things and have faith he know what he's doing.

We just beat a great team last night to continue the home winning streak!

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Doug LeMoine 4 years, 3 months ago

Nice article, Keegan ... Over the years, there have been many reasons to critique Collins -- his decision-making can get unfocused, his defense can be uneven, and he can get into his take-over-the-game mode too soon.

The bottom line is: Players make plays. You've got to have players who are willing to take command on the court. Those of us who have played know how huge it is to have a guy like Collins say, with utmost confidence, "I got this. Go with me." At that level, any jackass can (and does) say words like that, but there are very, very few players who inspire confidence and trust from their peers, and who can deliver again and again.

Does anyone remember any player in Kansas basketball who has delivered in big moments as many times as Collins? ... Cal Thompson did during the early Larry days, but the number of big moments were fewer.

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Justin Carlson 4 years, 3 months ago

Collins is a stud but...........if TT and X continue to have rough games the team will lean so heavily on SC we as fans will be on the edge of are seats hoping SC will knock down another jumper or create in the lane. In most cases this will work with 1 - 10 point Wins. But if he goes 5 - 19, TT and X struggle we are in trouble away from home and even on Monday against MO. TR and BM are never going to be able to light it up for more than 8 - 10/game. The big 3 CA, MM, and MM at least one of them will have a big game. If we as fans want the big time blowouts and playing to the teams atheltic potential, TT and X are the key to a BIG 12 title and a deep run in March. If they dont we are in for a 2nd/3rd place finish and maybe a 2 or 3 seed after this bruttle big 12 schedule!

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jpmusic76 4 years, 3 months ago

Sherron is an assassin! He has definitely become one of the greatest Jayhawks to play in AFH!

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Kye Clark 4 years, 3 months ago

I have posed this question before but apparently too late in the life of the thread as there were no comments after it, but who's team is this next year? Tyshawn's? The Twins'? Brady's? Some might say Cole should he return, but I think it's a lot harder to lead as a big man than it is as a guard. It's kind of a scary thought, life after Sherron, especially because no leader is even being groomed. It's been suggested that EJ is the heir apparent, but he's gaining almost no game experience right now. For all the talent we have returning, it may still take us some time to next year to hit any kind of stride.

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kcmostwanted 4 years, 3 months ago

It's KOBE ..... Kolby is the first name of a Chiefs Running back

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OmaHawk88 4 years, 3 months ago

mikendal--We get the comparison, but I think patton6 and rges--as well as myself--found humor in the fact that you still (based on your second post on this thread) don't know the first name of the guy who has been the NBA's best player over the last 10 years.

Go Jayhawks!! Beat Cyclones!!

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 3 months ago

Okay, maybe I was a little off comparing Collins to Kolby but hopefully, some sane Jayhawkers got my point. He's our leader and I hope he takes us to the promise land!

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rges 4 years, 3 months ago

  1. Kolby Bryant? ha ha ha ha ha wow... anyways GET THE BALL INSIDE! I am pretty sure all of these guys played basketball in middle school. What happened to fundamental basketball? I dont know if it is because i played in Sounthern Illinois and we still play fundamental basketball there or what. But if somebody slaps a zone of you play inside out. With all that said... the guys played pretty good against a very athletic and a very good shooting team. But if they think they can play like this against a really hyped up Missouri team and come Feb 8th AT texas they are going to have another thing coming! lets get it toegether and get the Big 12 crown yet again
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Vincent Patterson 4 years, 3 months ago

Great article Tom. I don't always agree with you on a lot of the stuff you write, but you were 100% on point with this one.

Hey Bill Mayer - Did you see what our "ball hog" did last nigh, againt? I sure wish he would quit throwing up all those shots...and making them! I still can't believe you had the nerve to say that!

I think I very well might shed a tear on Senior day this year.....Like Twin said and like Rick James would say, Sherron is "cold-blooded".

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markster956 4 years, 3 months ago

Sherrons numbers are obviously more impressive than scotty reynolds in a given game...and dont get me wrong i love sherron...but lets not throw scotty reynolds under the bus here...dude hits some big shots. louisville and gtown game for example

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jbrownjib 4 years, 3 months ago

Collins is having a great year. The National Championship team was good because anyone could take over at any time and the defense was second to none. This year is an example of good coaching around a great leader. Self is the greatest in developing great point guards and establishing the team around them. Tyshawn is struggling with this and I think that Xavier and Cole will really come into their own late season. This team is growing as the season develops on the back of SC. I think that they will be peaking come tourney time. SC will have another title and National Player of the year.

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Timmay97 4 years, 3 months ago

patton6,

I think he meant Michelle Jordan..... :-) That was funny!

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minnhawk84 4 years, 3 months ago

Holy crap Baylor has some athletes! I felt that the Hawks were pretty darn fortunate to beat them -- thank you Mr. Morris and Mr. Collins for showing up and having huge games. Xavier, you may as well drop the "one and done" idea, cuz you aren't playing like one.

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Mike Kendall 4 years, 3 months ago

Collins is our Kolby Bryant, if you will. He was clutch again. How many times has Sherron taken the team on his shoulders--a lot! He will continue to do it over and over again until he reaches that goal--win it all in Indy!

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waywardJay 4 years, 3 months ago

Markster.... just a stat line for ya...... take it or leave it.....

2-7, 1-4 from 3,4-6 ft's.....9 points 3 boards 2 assists 1 turnover in 28 minutes.... result 26 point route on the road

9-16, 5-9 from 3, 5-6 ft's..... 28 points 1 board 4 assists 0 turnovers...result 6 point victory.... at home...

if you were suggesting the two are on even footing.... these statlines would tell a different story....

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actorman 4 years, 3 months ago

The man truly has the heart of a lion, and he's such an inspiration to watch. I've criticized him some over the years for sometimes being reckless and out of control, but I have never questioned his heart or his competitiveness. It is truly incredible what he's been doing this year. Where would this team be without him? He is the one indispensable player on the team.

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markster956 4 years, 3 months ago

Its gotta be close between Sherron and Scotty Reynolds...2 seniors showing why it pays off to stick around for a last year

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Larry Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

Is there a better clutch player out there? I think not.

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