San Diego Sherron Collins spent his first three days in Southern California talking about assists.
In the end, he saved the best one for himself.
The 5-foot-11 point guard put the exclamation point on this year's McDonald's High School All-American Game, tossing a pass off the backboard and throwing down a one-handed jam with one second remaining, capping the West squad's 112-94 victory over the East on Wednesday before a sellout crowd in Cox Arena.
"I'm one of the little ones out there," said the Kansas University signee. "Nobody was expecting that out of me. I just wanted to get the crowd hyped one more time before they left."
Collins' dunk proved to be a perfect end to game night. West coach Harvey Kitani rewarded the Chicago product's hard work in practice this week with a spot in the starting lineup, and Collins immediately made good on the decision, earning one of his three assists on the game's first bucket - a mid-range jumper by Texas recruit Kevin Durant.
The diminutive point man also played a pivotal role during the game's turning point, running the offense as the West used a 17-0 run midway through the second half to seize control.
The West trailed by as much as 20 points in the first half.
Collins' final line read 11 points, the three helpers and two rebounds in 16 minutes.
"I'm basically satisfied," Collins said. "There's a lot of great scorers, but I wanted to come out and make a difference."
While the highlight-reel dunk will be the lasting memory for any KU backers who caught the telecast on ESPN, Collins was more concerned with the impression he left on two particular fans who found their spot among the announced crowd of 11,900.
Collins' brother, Steven, a freshman at Bakersfield College, made the four-hour trip south from California's Central Valley to see his little brother. Meanwhile, his mom, Stacey Harris, did that one better, cashing in her vacation time to fly to San Diego.
"It means a lot because my mom, she doesn't really get a chance to get out and see me," said Collins, citing her night-time work schedule. "She's just overwhelmed right now."
The second All-American with a KU tie - ongoing Jayhawk recruit Darrell Arthur - had a much quieter experience than his West teammate. Arthur came off the bench to score seven points and pull down three rebounds, showing little of the explosiveness that was on display during practice this week.
"I think he was just in with the wrong four guys," Collins said about the 6-9 forward out of Dallas.
On the other hand, Durant, the player who started ahead of Arthur, showed he could be a force for KU to deal with throughout the duration of his career in Austin. The lanky 6-10 forward scored a game-high 25 points and added five boards, sharing MVP honors with local favorite Chase Budinger, an Arizona recruit who chipped in 11 points, four assists and three rebounds for the West.
"We played within ourselves. We played good defense. We just played good as a team like we did all week," Durant said.
Duke recruit Gerald Henderson scored 16 points to lead four East players in double figures.
Next up for Collins is his final all-star appearance of the season. He'll officially close out his high-school career April 22 in the Jordan Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Then, it's off to Lawrence come August.
"I just want to tell them that we're going to get over the hump," said Collins, leaving his final message from San Diego for his soon-to-be hometown fans.