Leader of the Pack
I think that every photographer who regularly covers a specific team has a favorite player. Maybe favorite is not exactly what I mean, but rather a go-to guy. One who best expresses the feel of the game by the personality that he brings to it. The face you turn to with a minute left and you need to make a quick, gut decision about whether or not to prepare to cover a win or a loss.
If you flip back through the years or even the last several photo galleries it's not difficult to figure out that Sherron Collins is my guy. I feel like I've seen him do just about everything short of leaping into the student section, and he continually grabs my attention game after game. If he's not pounding his chest or roaring in the face of the other team, he's keeping his teammates loose by joking around on the bench.
Collins and his seven-foot counterpart Cole Aldrich are continually coupled together in interviews, photographs and fan discussions as the two most responsible for the team's success.
In large part this is based on talent, experience and the pre-season All-American tag. However, if there was ever an emotional leader with the ability to inspire by swagger and attitude alone, it's Sherron, and as far as I can tell, he knows it.
A year ago an alley-oop to a big man may have warranted a chest bump. Lately, he's all but rolled out the red carpet, calling for the applause of the Fielhouse after "posterizing" dunks by teammates Marcus Morris, Xavier Henry and Thomas Robinson. http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Nov/23/ku_bkc_cau_nk_06.jpg http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Nov/23/three_dunks.jpg
I think it's a show of maturity and knowing that it's best to start building them up now rather than waiting for inspiration to fall late in the year when the shots might not be.
So come March, there will be only one face in the building I'll be looking at. As long as that face is smiling, screaming or even snarling at the guy bringing the ball up the court, I'll be preparing for cheers.