Home 9 Non categorizzato 9 Collins, the unknown object of the draft

Collins, the unknown object of the draft

Autore: Stefano Russillo
Data: 22 Feb, 2017


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John Collins who? That’s what most people must have thought when looking at recent mock drafts around the web. DraftExpress puts him at #16, Bleacher Report at #17 and NbaDraft has him #24. The Wake Forest PF was unimpressive in his freshman season, but he is quickly growing into a very good college basketball player and into a scorer with an open streak of 10 games with 20+ points.

The table below marks his statistical improvement from his first year to his second.

Per Game Table


He averages 19 points and 9 rebounds in roughly 25 minutes, an impressive achievement that would make him worthy of more playing time, but he is too foul-prone and coach Danny Manning is often forced to pull him from the game. He is first in PER in the whole Ncaa (36.57, the second highest mark in the last 8 years) and he is in the top 5 in the ACC in Effective Field Goal %, Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounds and blocks. When factoring his size (6-10, 235 pounds) and his quick feet, he becomes the prototype of a modern power forward that can be effective on both sides of the floor.



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Collins on offense

He scores most of his points around the rim. He rolls hard to the rim,


can make plays in the post


or above the rim


and has a good feel for offensive rebounds.


His jumper is much better in his second year. It certainly is not his favorite move and not very efficient (38.6%) but it will be a key part of his repertoire for a career in the pace&space era in the Nba. In his last two games against Boston College (26 points, 16 rebounds) and Duke (31 points, 15 rebounds) his release seemed fluid. That’s a good starting point to build a reliable jumper. He is also shooting 73% from the free throw line, another indicator that he should be able to develop as a shooter.


He has to improve his reads, especially from the short roll. Wake Forest does not rely all that much on pick&rolls, but he will certainly see plenty of those in the Nba. He also has the speed, mobility and athleticism to be a devastating force when involved in that kind of play. He is a bit turnover prone (he coughs up the ball twice per game) but most of that happens because opposing defenses are starting to plan for him. Hence the necessity to find open teammates when he is being doubled. 0.5 assists per game is too low a number for a player who can do this.



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Collins on defense

Collins is 5th in the ACC in block% and is averaging 1.7 blocks per game. That’s his potential as a rim protector. He has the physical tools to block shots coming from nowhere.


His quick feet also allow him to switch pick&rolls and not get killed when guarding smaller guards. He still needs to bulk up to guard Nba power forwards. If the physical tools are there, he needs to work on his defensive reads and awareness. His defensive IQ hasn’t been the best so far, and it was on full display in the final possession of the close game against Duke.

Duke runs two similar plays, with Kennard coming off a Giles pick. In the first example he is late on a switch.


In the second example, he just refuses the switch and stays in nowhere land, allowing Kennard to shoot the eventual game winner.





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Collins’s maturity

Nba scouts love his maturity. He is a 19-year-old sophomore who grew up following his mother in her career in the US Air Force. Collins spent his first year moving around the world, from Utah to Turkey through the Virgin Islands, before settling for Pierce County, Washington, with his mother moving to the McCohord Air Force Base. Since they have been constantly on the move, Collins has had trouble making friends. After moving to Pierce County the 7-year-old JC is already much bigger than his peers, and his mother has him playing for McCohord Magic, the team coached by Roy Harmes, who will eventually become a much needed father figure for the little kid.

Coach Harmes has players in the 9 to 11-year-old range on his team, but he sees the potential and immediately adds Collins to the team. Harmes teaches him to be aggressive on the court, a harder task than what could be imagined: as part of the military, Collins mother, Lyria, built her son’s education around strong values and discipline. That is also why he is such a mature kid. He plays the game and never yells at the referees, he just keeps competing, an ice cold killer who stays calm and is decisive in his action. He also improved by practicing 1vs1 with senior Devin Thomas in his first year.

John Collins alla Newman High School

His maturity was on display in his years at the Cardinal Newman High School of West Palm Beach, Florida, where he remained despite never winning anything of substance and without ever thinking to leave for a different school where he might have had a chance at titles. JC averaged 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in his senior year and carried Newman to the State Finals, an eventual overtime loss (53-46) despite getting very close to a triple double of 17 points, 9 rebounds and 9 blocks.

Espn kept him out of the top100 in the 2015 recruiting class and ranked him 39th among power forwards in the nation. Collins never blinked at that. He went on to refuse the scholarship offer from Florida and choose Wake Forest. In Collins opinion, being coached by “one of the best power forwards in Kansas history and one of the best college basketball history” (Ncaa champion, Final Four MVP, Naismith College Player of the Year, John R. Wooden Award) is the best choice for his career.

Manning e Collins

It turned out playing for coach Manning and Wake Forest was the right move, and the results are there for everyone to see.

The next step is the Nba, but the goal is to carry the Deacons to the Ncaa tournament first. It will not be easy, the record is 15-12 and 6-9 in the ACC, and then it will be time to decide whether to declare for the draft or not. But there’s nothing to worry about. It will most likely be the right choice.




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