San Diego — It didn't take long for Sherron Collins to trade Chitown cool for California chill.
"The palm trees, the water : I love it," said the 5-foot-11 point guard about his initial reaction to the Golden State. "This is all fun."
And relaxed. Those were the Kansas University signee's oft-repeated words of choice when describing his approach to this week's McDonald's High School All-American festivities.
With a Chicago city championship in one pocket and a college scholarship in the other, the talented playmaker is intent on doing whatever might create the most joy during his six days in Southern California, highlighted by Wednesday's showcase game in San Diego State University's Cox Arena.
"The names before us carried (the tradition) on, so it's just an honor to make the McDonald's All-American team, just to be an All-American," Collins said following Sunday's 90-minute workout in the Aztec Recreation Center. "So it's just fun to get a chance to play with these guys.
During his just-completed senior season at Crane Tech Prep High, Collins proved he's not exactly cut from the same cloth as two other McDonald's selections - Jacque Vaughn and Aaron Miles - who went on to star at the point for KU.
Collins averaged 33.0 points alongside his 6.1 assists per game, and even pulled down eight rebounds per game, just for good measure.
However, with a bevy of talented scorers slated to surround him Wednesday night, he already has made the decision to go old-school when it's his time to run the offense.
"I think I proved over the course of my high school career that I could score, so I think I'm just going to go out and try to get the assist record," said Collins, who will need 13 helpers to match Vaughn's mark set during the 1993 contest. "That's what I'm aiming for right now."
But first thing's first. Much like the NBA All-Star Game, the hoopla surrounding the high school stars isn't contained to just one night of entertainment. The good times will tip off at 9 tonight with the PowerAde Jam Fest in Peterson Gym.
Collins is tentatively scheduled to participate alongside Amanda Thompson, a girls All-American out of Chicago's Whitney Young High, in the Team Ball Competition.
But the real fireworks should come in the Slam Dunk Contest, where Collins agreed - with a little prodding from his new friends - to ignore his diminutive frame and offer up his own high-wire act.
"A couple of guys convinced me to get in ... because they didn't know I could jump that high," Collins said.
So will he find any inspiration in another mighty mite, New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson, winning the dunk crown during last month's All-Star bash in Houston?
"I might have a couple of tricks up my sleeve," Collins admitted. "I don't know yet, though."