Recap: Collins at his best vs. Cornell


Sherron Collins is a jack of all trades: KU's senior guard is sometimes a distributor, other times a go-to scorer, and always an emotional sparkplug. Wednesday night, Collins was all of those things and one more. KU's senior guard was the best player on the court.

At first glance, Collins had some competition in Cornell's star senior wing, Ryan Wittman. Wittman went 7-for-17 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line to tally 24 points. According to, Wittman created 1.26 points per possession used, a bit better than his season average.

Collins bested that by a long way. The Chicago native created 1.59 points per possession and most importantly, took 37 percent of KU's shots during his playing time. editor Jesse Newell raised some chicken vs. egg discussion with a Wednesday blog tackling the correlation between which KU players shoot and how the team fares. The numbers said Collins shoots a lot in KU's less impressive outings, and Wednesday night's contest certainly fell in line with that . Like usual, it wasn't Collins' high usage that kept KU from blowing out Cornell. Rather, Collins' aggressiveness pulled the Jayhawks back from the edge of a loss.

Collins' excellence manifested itself in nearly every number in his advanced box score. He posted a 62 percent Effective FG%, notched 44 percent of KU's assists during his minutes and committed just five percent of the team's turnovers. The best indicator of Collins' assertiveness, in my opinion, was his Free Throw Rate (FT Rate). Collins shot 14 free throws to his 16 field goal attempts to register a FT Rate of 87 percent (average is about 30 percent). Collins wanted to score, he tried to score, and he scored often. KU coach Bill Self knows it: Sherron Collins is pretty darn good. Nick Krug/LJW Photo

Now, this blog doesn't like to "deal in hypotheticals" (a lesson learned from former KU football coach Mark Mangino), but consider this:

What if KU didn't have Collins on Wednesday due to injury or ailment? Who would have picked up the slack? Junior center Cole Aldrich and junior guard Brady Morningstar were the only Jayhawks to earn more than one point per possession used against Cornell, but it's hard to imagine either picking up the slack in Collins' place. Freshman guard Xavier Henry endured a 3-for-13 learning experience and sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor posted no points on one field goal attempt. Obviously, someone would have used the possessions Collins did, but would they have created offense so efficiently?

M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)

Sherron Collins. See the 500-word Gospel of Sherron (above) for more information.

Aldrich earns distant runner-up honors for his 13-point, nine-rebound effort. As usual, Aldrich was the game's most effective per-possession rebounder and shot blocker.

Room for improvement

Come close to dropping a game at Allen Fieldhouse, and the gripes are bound to be loud.

• By its standards, KU didn't play very good defense. Cornell scored 0.97 points per possession, the second most by any KU opponent this season (Tennessee Tech scored 0.99). On the bright side, KU has not allowed any team a better-than-average offensive showing.

• KU also posted its second worst offensive performance of the season. Aside from a dismal 0.86 points-per-possession night against Memphis, KU has scored points at a better-than-average rate in every game. The Jayhawks stretched that streak to 12 games but mustered just 1.04 points per possession.

• The Morris twins were nearly non-existent on the offensive end. Marcus missed all three of his shots, Markieff missed all four of his, and the two combined for one offensive rebound.

Hard luck line

Henry gets the dubious nod. He missed 10 of his 13 shots and seemed to force the issue early. That happens to freshmen, especially against a patience-draining game against an offense-clogger like Cornell.

The Bottom Line

Casual fans of the Jayhawks and college basketball might glance at the box score and ask themselves how KU could come so close to such a letdown loss. A hoops-head might see the score and think, "Not so surprising." Cornell — Ivy League or not — is a good team. The Big Red could garner at-large NCAA attention for its stunning play against a stiff non-conference slate.


hawkward1 10 years ago

Collins - great performance of course. I feel less jittery than last two years when the ball was in his hands at crucial times. We can't have a scoreless Morris twins / T-rob though - that's not "tough."

Carl O'Hair 10 years ago

When he began some of those drives the look on Sherron's face showed that he was going to make whatever he put up. When he gets that serious, we aren't going to lose look on his face you have to look for him to score, one way or another. I think he proved last night that this team is his and he won't allow them to lose if he can keep it from happening.

AsherFusco 10 years ago

Here's a good analysis of Cornell's unexpected success (from Basketball Prospectus guru John Gasaway):

rockchalktl 10 years ago

cornell played great last night but sherron took over like usual and guided the jayhawks to victory.

with a career high 33 points and played pretty much all of the 2nd half sherron collins showed us all why he is probably the best player in college basketball hands down. if he continues to guide this team it will be hard for them to be beat.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!!!!!!!

actorman 10 years ago

Drgnslayr, it would have been a big upset, no doubt (KU was a 20-point favorite), but it wouldn't have been even REMOTELY close to the biggest upset in history. I think that one belongs (and will most likely always belong) to Chaminade College, an NAIA school with 800 students. They beat Virginia, the number one team in the land with 7'4" Ralph Sampson anchoring the middle. I can't remember exactly, but I think Chaminade's tallest player was something like 6'8". The only thing that would have been in this one's favor is that the Virginia game wasn't at home. But it's still hard to fathom that Virginia lost that game. It would be like KU losing to Baker.

actorman 10 years ago

"Remotely" was in caps, by the way. I so appreciate the complete randomness of when the website chooses to take my caps away.

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