Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
By Aggrey Sam
CHARLOTTE, N.C.Heres the story of a point guard, anointed a star and future pro since his grammar-school days. A college star and key participant in the 2008 NCAA national championship game. Raised in the Windy City and playing in Wednesdays Bulls-Bobcats game under the watchful eye.
Well, maybe not playing. Actual minutes on the court are luxury these days. Obviously this point guard isnt Derrick Rose.
My time hasnt come yet. Its coming, he told CSNChicago.com. Im working. Im a young fella, so I understand that.
Just going through the ropes.
Sherron Collins came out of Chicagos Crane Techin the shadows of the United Center on the citys West Sidewith similar accolades to Rose. A McDonalds All-American the year before Rose (he was also a star football and baseball player), Collins was coveted by all the major colleges for his combination of Chi-Town toughness, shifty ball-handling ability and winning mentality.
Oh yeah, were close. We played against each other in high school a lot. I just saw Rose. We were out here, talking to each other for a little bit, Collins told CSNChicago.com following Charlottes Wednesday morning shoot-around at Time Warner Cable Arena. I think, for me and him, its more were glad that we both are here. Im glad that he made it, Im glad that hes doing the things hes doing and I think its the same way with him. Just to see kids that come from rough neighborhoods, having nothing and able to get out, go to college and able to do what you love and get paid for it.
Hes one of the premier stars in the league now. Im chasing what hes doing. Im trying to get that same work ethic, Im asking him questions now and Im the older dude. Thats just how the league works, he continued. But remember, Ive got one up on him: I beat him in the national championship at Kansas!
While Collins didnt make a huge immediate splash at Kansas, his sophomore-year performance as an explosive sixth man was an integral part of the Jayhawks aforementioned national-championship season, in which they beat Roses Memphis squad in an overtime thriller. For the next two seasons, the stocky floor general was Kansas star and go-to scorer, again receiving season-culminating All-American nods for leading one of the nations elite teams.
At the conclusion of his senior season last spring, however, Collins received the wrong kind of notoriety. Scouts focused on his heavyset frame and as several draft projections predicted, he wasnt selected in the 2010 NBA Draft, despite his illustrious college career.
You know, thats just the world. Thats how it goes. Somebodys high on you, the next persons low. I just try not to let that get to me, said Collins. This summer, I had a pretty good summer. I was in Vegas for the NBAs summer league, I dropped the weight. I had a great summer, then the first workout, I pulled my groin and it went downhill from there. Its kind of hard to keep working out, keep your weight down and stay in shape when youve got a pulled groin.
That was the thing that hurt me and thats just how it works. One day, youre healthy. The next day, youre hurt. Im just making the best out of this opportunity.
Still, Collins was signed by the Bobcats, now owned by his idol, Bulls legend Michael Jordan. For a kid who went to school walking distance from where Jordans statue resides, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.
I snuck into the United Center just to watch games. He probably doesnt even know the storieswhat we did to watch those gamesand its like a dream come true, to have this in one organization, said Collins. We learn a lot from him, too. Hes always talking to me on the bench. In practice, hes always telling me this or that, so its a great learning experience.
Despite his scant playing time as a rookie and the Bobcats disappointing record after the franchises first-ever playoff appearance a year agoleading to a mid-season coaching change that saw Larry Brown get replaced by Paul SilasCollins is optimistic about his initial NBA season thus far.
Its been a great experience, learning a lot from two experienced coaches, two different styles of playing, so I kind of get a bit of both. Its kind of the best of both worlds if you think about it like that. Coach Silas has a real confident coaching stylehell give you as much confidence as you needkind of give you the free will to go play. Its been a great experience. My thing is to continue working, keep grinding hard, explained Collins. We played the same way at Kansas. We liked to get out and run. Thats our whole mentality here. Get out and run, get easy baskets. Coach Brown, he just was a more, run your sets type of guywhich wasnt anything wrong with thathe was more of a work and grind out a good shot rather than taking the quick shot. Sometimes the quick shot is the best shot youre going to get that possession. Thats just right up my alley. Get it, go, go make a play, let you do what you do, exciting.
Ive got great vets. Jack Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, even D.J. Augustin, theyre always talking to me, keeping me positive. Theyre the best thing for me right now, he continued. We have the greatest job in the world. Thats what the vets explain to me every day. You should never wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You always should be blessed for waking up and thats the type of attitude I try to approach it with.
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.