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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jordan’s call gives Collins’ spirits a lift

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— Consensus All-American Sherron Collins was both shocked and disappointed the night of June 24 when he failed to hear his name called in the NBA Draft.

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Kansas University’s Sherron Collins, right, drives against Kansas State’s Denis Clemente during their meeting in Manhattan. The former rivals have reunited at the Charlotte Bobcats’ summer league camp.

The mood of Kansas University’s all-time winningest player brightened considerably shortly after the conclusion of the two-round, 60-player extravaganza, however, when his cell phone rang.

It was Collins’ childhood hero, Michael Jordan, on the line.

The Charlotte Bobcats’ owner had called to invite Collins to his NBA team’s summer camp.

“A couple of minutes after the draft, to get that call, especially from Jordan, that’s somebody I idolized all my life,” Collins told the Associated Press on Saturday from Orlando, Fla., site of the Bobcats’ pre-summer league training camp.

“I’m from Chicago, so I’ve seen him, and I watched him. It was a no-brainer. I got more calls, but I was taking that call.”

Collins said he didn’t want “to make any excuses” for not getting tapped in the draft.

Yet he explained what might have hurt his cause.

“I got hurt in Detroit. In my first workout, I pulled my groin. It nagged me through the whole process,” said the 5-foot-11 Collins, whose weight fluctuated between 207 and 229 the past couple of months. “I had to stay off it. I couldn’t stay fresh. I had a workout, had to rest it three days after that, stay off it. It was nagging. I had to cancel a few (workouts).”

Collins has told Bobcats’ management he’d be perfect for the team.

“I think I can help them tremendously. There are things I can do,” Collins said. “I stay within my game. I can guard people. I’m a tough guard. That’s what I provide. I’m not trying to do too much or do anything I can’t do. You can’t get mixed up in that. You do what you do.”

He arrived in camp to discover one of his college rivals — Kansas State’s Denis Clemente — was one of 19 players to be on hand for camp.

“I think it’s best for the both of us that I’m not in Manhattan having to play in his hometown. He’s not in Kansas (Allen Fieldhouse). It’s the same team,” Collins said of going against Clemente. “It’s always good to see a good person you played with and good friends, too.”

The two were reunited Wednesday when they arrived for camp.

“I was happy because I’ve known him for a long time, since high school,” Clemente said. “When I came here I saw him, and he was pretty excited to be here, too.

“Every time we play Kansas it’s a hard game, a good game,” Clemente added.

Their second matchup last season marked the first time in 52 years both teams were ranked in the top five. Kansas won despite 21 points from Clemente. The Jayhawks completed a three-game season sweep in the Big 12 championship game.

But it was Kansas State that went deeper in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Butler in the West Regional final. No. 1 seed KU lost to Northern Iowa in the second round.

The stocky 5-foot-11 Collins finished the season averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists. The 6-foot Clemente averaged 16.6 points and 4.2 assists.

The two are part of a Bobcats’ point guard summer crew that also includes Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga and Jerel McNeal of Marquette. D.J. Augustin, Charlotte’s backup point guard last season, is participating in the camp portion, but won’t play in summer league games this week in Orlando.

Charlotte assistant Dave Hanners, who is coaching the summer league team, said the point guards have been a pleasant surprise.

“I’ve done summer league before, and they get caught up in the competition part, and they forget to run the team,” Hanners said. “But these guys have all got pretty good heads on their shoulders.”

With Raymond Felton, Charlotte’s starting point guard from last season, a free agent and unlikely to be re-signed, there could be an opening for a young point guard on the roster next season for a team guided by former Kansas coach Larry Brown.

“They’ve both been great. They’re both really heady players, got a great feel for the game,” Hanners said. “Of course, Denis is as quick as you can get. He’s real quick and fast with the ball. Both are very unselfish, get other people shots. They both can make an open shot.”

And after facing off multiple times with high pressure the past two seasons, Collins and Clemente know a lot about each other’s games.

“In college you study those guys moves so much on the scouting report that you’ve got to relay it out here,” Collins said before breaking into a grin. “You don’t tell nobody. You just keep it in your head.”

Comments

Jack Wilson 9 years, 3 months ago

“I got hurt in Detroit. In my first workout, I pulled my groin. It nagged me through the whole process,” said the 5-foot-11 Collins, whose weight fluctuated between 207 and 229 the past couple of months. “I had to stay off it. I couldn’t stay fresh. I had a workout, had to rest it three days after that, stay off it. It was nagging. I had to cancel a few (workouts).”

The ONLY thing that kept him from getting drafted was his demonstrated inability to control his weight. That demonstrates a clear lack of discipline. How in the world, with thousands of dollars on the line, do you gain 21 pounds? Unbelievable.

Ryan Mullen 9 years, 3 months ago

Wait....... are'nt you like 500 pounds.

KU79 9 years, 3 months ago

I believe Sherron will be fine, and will be on an NBA roster. If not Charlotte, some other team. He's tough and he's a winner. I didn't know about the groin injury, which was horrible timing for him, and probably led to his weight gain. He's the type that needs to be working out or he puts on the pounds, and you can't do much when that area is hurting.

Regarding Clemente, he beat him like a drum on a regular basis and he'll top him now, too.

WilburNether 9 years, 3 months ago

"“I think I can help them tremendously. There are things I can do,” Collins said. “I stay within my game. I can guard people. I’m a tough guard."

Sure, Collins needs to stay positive, and be convinced he can make an NBA roster, and stick in the league.

However, a reality check with regard to those two assertions:

  1. He does not always stay within his game. There were times when he took himself out of his game by trying to do too much, and in particular, thinking the game was all about him versus an opposing team's player who got his goat. See, among others, the Syracuse and Northern Iowa games. There were games when he was mentally tough, and games when he wasn't. He can't afford any more lapses.

  2. He is not a great defender. He is not in the same league as, for example, Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers, Jacques Vaughn, and Jerod Haase. And there will be >300 players in the NBA who can simply shoot over him.

amw8716 9 years, 3 months ago

Stay off the ribs, chicken, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese Sherron and you will have successes!

Spencer Goff 9 years, 3 months ago

This is a homer site, so all you guys posting anything negative about Sherron (you know, like how gaining 20 pounds in two months is something more than "missing a few workouts." and maybe this is an excuse...) better just prepare for an eight page Jaybate-athon about how Sherron is going to "break the mold" followed by Waywardjay saying something about the NBA that is insane; like Sherron can guard any NBA point guard right now or how the Bobcats are a playoff team without Felton and Stephen Jackson in the lineup.

Happy 4th folks!

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 3 months ago

Maybe MJ should have Clemente and Collins play him individually one-on-one to see who is the better fit for the team! I bet he would prefer Sherron's physical play and intensity more than Clemente's hot-headed nature. Can't you see Clemente trying to "thug-up" Jordan if he couldn't score on him?

waywardJay 9 years, 3 months ago

Mem... i think they both have personalities that Jordan can use.... Clemente can have nasty streak to him, which jordan absolutely LOVES as long as it doesn't get you t'ed.... Think of a smaller faster Matt Barnes, I hope that is what clemente is in 5 years.

As for Sherron, edgy but Mostly heady guard that can Guard in the Nba. he'll get burned by a few, but they all do because the NBA plays veery little defense. He won't have the steals Mario will, but from what I have seen of NBA Point Guards, he can do as well as alot of them.... I think Posters like Krohnutz are insane suggestiing Sherron doesn't have IT.

Let's be realistic here, those people who were negative about sherron's weight have been that way since is sophomore year, and even some of those were on him about his freshman year too. those people will never get over the weight Issue... those people say great player, BUT....

I tend to be one of the others, that think in a league of players who come in out of shape and play their way to shape through out the regular season for the playoffs, Sherron CAN and WILL stay ahead of the curve this way.

Some suggest sherron uses the injuries to excuse the fact hegot fat....

I suggest He knew what he was up against, and tried to play hurt to stay ahead of the curve this way.... Don't know about you, but when you are limited to sitting around waiting to have your legs back... I think i might gain a few pounds....

Lastly, the NBA is insane. They Draft upside down and only 5-6 teams ever have consistant success. Scouts make up reasons for players not to succeed, and pidgeon hole them down.

example, tell me there are 9 people better than Paul Pierce in his draft class..... Raef Lafrentz wasn't and he was one of the 9 selected first. People draft on upside first, and that's idiotic. Guys like Kyle Mcalarney who can do a bit of everything get passed on for the JJ redicks of the world who are just spot up shooters? It's a league from top to bottom run backwards and only succeeds because it's elite players sell shoes and jerseys. Fiscally 75 percent of the league is going bankrupt, and yet they buy buy buy when free agency starts....

Tell me honestly, when you can have solid guys who play good defense for 750,000 and you can have a hot head scorer who occasionally plays defense for 1,500,000... who would you pick, because i would choose the defender any day of the week...

LAJayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Wayward, you are letting the stubbornness of your argument get in the way of reality. JJ Redick gives Orlando precisely what they need.

When you have Jameer Nelson driving the lane and Dwight Howard being double (or triple) teamed inside, you need a guy who can consistently knock down spot up shots from the outside to provide both a solid scoring threat AND open up the floor for those other guys. JJ Redick is definitely a consistent outside threat and has done very well for himself at Orlando (having several 20+ games in the playoffs against premier teams).

I understand you are trying to make a point regarding drafting players on potential, but you are letting ignorance cloud the logic. NBA management is not playing a video game; they are putting millions and millions on the line to pick the correct person for the system they are running. Certainly mistakes are made (Sam Bowie anyone?), as putting together a winning professional program is extremely difficult, but to suggest they draft solely on marketability is ludicrous. The ability to sell a player to the fans does play a part, but winning is by far the most sure fire way to make a profit. There is dumb and incompetent management out there (as I am keenly aware as a Cubs fan) -- just as there is in every business in the world -- but for the most part NBA management spends countless hours and millions of dollars trying to put out the best product they can.

Pull back from the cynicism for a minute and understand that different players help different teams in very positive ways. JJ Redick is good for Orlando.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 3 months ago

Sherron we all wish you luck in this process. To imagine a guy under 6'0" in the NBA is incredible, and that shows how much Sherron wants this. I would imagine with Larry Brown on that team, if it close...Sherron will get the nod. I also imagine that Clemente won't make the team.

Good Luck Sherron...we all want to cheer for the Bobcats.

We already are cheering for the Thunder now with two Jayhawks on the team (Collison and Aldrich).

100 9 years, 3 months ago

MJ, recruited and played for a fine national champion Jayhawk himself, Dean Smith ('52 almost '53).

Jordan who played his first collegiate game against the Jayhawks....

Jordan who said his 2nd favorite coach was a 15 year Jayhawk, Roy...

Jordan who hired a Jayhawk national champion to be coach of his Bobcats, Larry Brown ('88).

Jordan, who spoke of Naismith as being the reason along with his parents for everything that has happened in his life...

Is dearly paying back a fine Chicago kid and jayhawk national champion Collins (2008)...

The only university and player who Jordan himself would have to bow down to, in terms of being the best ever....

Wilt Chamberlain.

MJ is the best -- Keeping Naismith University in his heart.

Rock Chalk, MJ

DSommersby 9 years, 3 months ago

Be tough Sherron. Get your rest everyday and play your game. Be smart on your diet and go play team ball. You will do this!

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 3 months ago

Larry Brown is doing his buddy Calipari a solid. A kid who played for Cal at Memphis, Shawne Williams, was kicked off two NBA teams for criminal activities and appeared to be blackballed by the NBA. Larry is putting Williams on his Charlotte summer league team with Sherron and other rookies as a favor to Cal to see him work. See, Cal is a good samaritan and Larry must not be able to say no to him. Maybe Cal has suggested to Williams to put the hammer down on Collins for his part in the Memphis/KU NC game.

100 9 years, 3 months ago

Keep in mind the question for many was who Larry rooted for in '08 considering he had connections to all 4.

Quite obviously in the end it was Bill Self and KU. Larry personally invited Self to be part of KU as a graduate assistant.

Wit Calipari, Ted Owens invited him on and Calipari had served for a year before he did another year under Brown while also meeting his Jayhawk born wife at KU, an employee of KU basketball records at the time.

Sorry Calipari fans. Self and KU were always the favorite in Larry's heart in 2008.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 3 months ago

100 -

So what do you think Brown thought of Cal's situation at UMass? Such circumstances were more rare back then than these days. More recently, he must have had opinions about Cal the second time around at Memphis. And now, with the investigations after one year at UK, Brown should be reconsidering his alleged friendship with Cal. It would make a lot of folks curious about the relationship between these two if Brown continues to be linked to Cal.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 3 months ago

Pro ball ( any sport) is a minimum 10-11 month dedication. Call it a job or whatever, it is what it is. If you can't make that constant commitment, don't BS anyone. Do what you have to do & let the chips fall where they may. At least you have a shot, you mya not have another. Good luck.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 3 months ago

Pro ball ( any sport) is a minimum 10-11 month dedication. Call it a job or whatever, it is what it is. If you can't make that constant commitment, don't BS anyone. Do what you have to do & let the chips fall where they may. At least you have a shot, you may not have another. Good luck.

Ryan Mullen 9 years, 3 months ago

Maybe I am wrong here but the headline "Jordan’s call gives Collins’ spirits a lift" is kinda creepy. Is the writer implying that Sherron Collins has more than one spirit. If so I can only begin to imagine which spirits Sherron Collins has. To start with I would say Chris Farley the man loved his food.

lee3022 9 years, 3 months ago

Both Collins detractors and Collins apologists are well accounted for here. I was as disappointed as all of you over the loss to UNI. No doubt we hoped Sherron would carry us through. But that is not the point of the story. This story is about Michael personally recruiting Sherron Collins. That says a bundle. I really doubt he called all 19.

This is likely the best opportunity for him to play and show himself worthy of the NBA. Charlotte will cut a number of these players before their brief Summer League games - they can't play 19! If Sherron makes the cut he will be seen by 30 General Managers in the league (mostly on tape) and will at least have a chance of call-up if he goes to the D-league.

What others have not noted is Sherron possesses superior leadership skills. If and when he gets himself into shape he is quick and explosive and he also has a very high basketball IQ. But he also inspires his teammates and that is essential for a point guard and especially for Larry Brown's point guard. Both Clemente and Collins are in for a great match-up and I am betting on both to at least make the Summer League squad. And I think Sherron will play in the NBA this year.

actorman 9 years, 3 months ago

"And now, with the investigations after one year at UK, Brown should be reconsidering his alleged friendship with Cal. It would make a lot of folks curious about the relationship between these two if Brown continues to be linked to Cal."

Considering that Brown left both UCLA and KU on probation after he left them, I hardly think he's in a position to judge someone else for the same thing. Or if you have forgotten that minor detail in Brown's resume?

I also find it ridiculous that people think Brown is more likely to keep Sherron because he's from KU. Brown will go with whoever gives his team the best chance to win, regardless of what school he played for.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 3 months ago

On the sleaze factor, however, Cal has to have the edge over Brown you must admit. To go directly from Memphis to UK with the knowledge that an investigation was taking place and he would be in a precarious position if he stayed at Memphis. That's pretty ballsy. To have his recruited players de-commit to Memphis and take them to UK was also pretty sleazy. I don't remember where Brown went directly from KU or UCLA. But, I don't think he matches up to Cal in the egotist department. I don't consider these two "birds of a feather".

Even though Brown is getting along in years, I believe NBA team owners would hire him before they would consider Cal. Cal has been in the League. He wasn't well thought of then and couldn't coach there. Too much water under the bridge. Unless Brown was to sympatheticly add him on as an assistant, I don't see Cal moving up when he's through at UK sometime in the near future. I see a future for him behind a desk like Steve Lavin or others removed from coaching. Only thing is, Bobby Knight wouldn't share a desk with him!

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