Chicago native Collins' time to shine coming soon

Chicago native Collins' time to shine coming soon

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
4:37 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

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.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Spurs tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com, the only place where you can get the hometown call from Neil and Stacey.

Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Attempting to end perfection. The Spurs have been absolutely electric outside of San Antonio this season, winning each of their first 13 road games to begin the year. That's the second longest streak in NBA history, and the Bulls have actually lost two of three at home. The Bulls will be home underdogs as the Spurs look to make it 14 in a row. The good news is the Bulls have defeated the Spurs at home each of the last two seasons.

2. Battle of the two-way studs. There's a real argument to be made that Thursday's matchup will tout the two best two-way players in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is having his best offensive season to date, averaging 24.5 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.9 triples, and averaging nearly 91 percent from the free-throw line. Expect Jimmy Butler and Leonard to be on each other's rear most of the night in what should be one of the most fun 1-on-1 matchups in the NBA.

3. Questions at the point. For the Spurs, Tony Parker is questionable to play with a knee injury. If he can't go, it would be Nico Laprovittola and Patty Mills running the point. For the Bulls, Rajon Rondo is coming off a pair of ugly performances in Bulls' losses to the Mavericks and Pistons (and his suspension against the Blazers). Someone needs to step up at the point, and it could decide Thursday night's winner.

4. Pau returns to the UC. Though it didn't result in much success, Pau Gasol enjoyed two highly successful seasons in Chicago. The stat-stuffer was named an All-Star in both seasons, averaging 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 150 games. He's now in San Antonio, filling Tim Duncan's role in the starting lineup. And though his numvers are down from a year ago, he's still capable of putting up numbers, especially against a Bulls' interior that has struggled of late.

5. Getting Doug McDermott back. Dougie McBuckets has been activated to the Bulls roster, and not a moment too soon. Since McDermott suffered a concussion on Nov. 12, the Bulls bench ranks 26th in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and 30th in 3-point field-goal percentage (23.5 percent). Getting McDermott back, even in a small role as he gets his legs under him, will be a major factor against a Spurs team whose offense continues to heat up in December.

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Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

AUBURN HILLS, MICH—Rajon Rondo almost made it to the quarter mark of the season without incident, but his frustrations got the better of him in Dallas last weekend in a situation with Bulls assistant coach Jim Boylen.

He returned from his one-game suspension in a light mood, but didn’t take things lightly when addressing questions from the media after the Bulls’ 102-91 loss to Detroit.

Rondo admitted that he feels so strongly about things that he doesn’t let them go as easily as he should, which could have been the case with Boylen. Rondo threw a towel after an exchange with Boylen during the Bulls’ blowout loss to the Mavericks.

“That’s a good way to put it. Me as a player, a point guard, I have to handle a situation better,” Rondo said. “But when I feel a certain way, I’m gonna speak on it. My whole thing is always for the betterment of the team.

“If it comes off wrong or a certain way I’ll try to work on that. But for the most part I’m not a selfish individual, I try to do what’s best for the team, try to watch film with my teammates. That’s just part of the game, who I am.”

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When asked if he actually threw a towel at Boylen, Rondo quipped, “You gotta look at the film,” and tried to downplay the situation as best he could, noting the timing of the event in question.

He apologized to the coaching staff and his teammates and believes there won’t be lasting effects, although the Bulls are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

“Hopefully it’ll be the last three-game losing streak,” Rondo said. “It’s about how you handle adversity. We usually handle it well as far as bouncing back.”

Calling the incident “part of the game,” Rondo didn’t want to address specifics but given his history of instances such as these in Boston, Dallas and Sacramento, this one makes it a little harder to shake the reputation of being difficult to deal with.

“I have a good relationship with my team and I take pride in being a great teammate,” Rondo said. “I think we’re still on the same page. When you lose, things get blown out of proportion. When you win, it covers everything up. So we have to get back to winning basketball.”

His teammates have been supportive both behind the scenes and publicly, and were happy to have him back despite not being able to quell the losing streak.

“It was good. That's our starting point guard. We need veteran guys on this team,” Bulls guard Dwyane Wade said. “We need our bodies. He's our leader today so when we got down early he was the one who kept talking to us defensively. He's so smart out there on the floor, takes certain things away, get out in open transition. The reason we got back in the game, he did a good job of leading us in those moments.”