Archive for Thursday, January 21, 2010

Collins finds way to win — again

January 21, 2010


KU survives Baylor, 81-75

Baylor gave the Jayhawks a run for their money Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse. Enlarge video

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A tough conference opponent threw in amazing shots and teetered on the brink of a streak-busting upset when the best player in college basketball gathered his team in the huddle and restored the confidence of all his mates.

Nobody ever will hear Kansas senior guard Sherron Collins, the nation’s best player, tell anybody he doesn’t know his role.

His coach stated his leader’s role quite nicely after an 81-75 Wednesday night victory against Baylor. Not that Collins wasn’t born knowing it. His role is to do whatever it takes on a given night to lead his team to victory. On this night, that meant getting the big men off to a nice start by penetrating the gaps of a 2-3 zone by using great feel, a great handle and spectacular passing. It meant taking over a close game late by burying three-pointers, driving the baseline hard for a bucket over the giants and delivering a bounce pass to Marcus Morris inside from an unconventional angle for a bucket.

It meant gathering his teammates and saying words that let the air out of the pressure bubble.

“He got us in the huddle and said, ‘I got it. Just go with me.’ When he (points at his chest), we all know what that means,” Marcus Morris said.

Baylor did everything it could to stop KU’s 52-game homecourt winning streak, and Collins didn’t let it happen.

“Sherron’s cold-blooded,” Marcus Morris said. “He steps up and makes big shot after big shot, and the amazing thing is he does it every game. I don’t think there’s a better player in the country.”

Collins is part savage heavyweight boxer, smelling blood when he senses he has a foe on the ropes, delivering the knockout punch and then sneering at the crowd, exhorting it to get louder, louder, louder. And he’s part symphony conductor, doing everything with such precision, burying NBA-distance three-pointers and handling the ball with such care at high speeds. For a player who conducts a wire-to-wire high-speed chase, forever in pursuit of another victory, file turnovers under the cost-of-doing-business heading. Yet, for 38 minutes, Collins had the game on a string and never fumbled it. He needed just 16 field-goal attempts and six free-throw attempts to score 28 points, and he had four assists, two steals and not a single turnover.

His once-wild, always-effective game now features the sort of refinement that only comes with a blend of experience and an instinctive feel for the game. No matter the defense, he’s so hard to guard, even more so using a zone.

“You can tell if a player knows how to play by watching him play against a zone better than you can by watching him play against man-to-man,” KU coach Bill Self said. “... Usually it’s the most experienced guys who play well against a zone.”

Collins has perfected the art of using emotion to the team’s gain. He seized on Baylor coach Scott Drew’s decision to take his team off the court during the pregame video. The move didn’t sit well with Collins, teammates and coaches. They considered it disrespectful. Maybe so, but it was also smart. Visiting players tend to watch it, and it intimidates some of them. The Bears didn’t play with fear. They lost because they didn’t have Collins playing for them.


notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm not saying anything bad about Collins, he's great. But the "best player in college basketball"? Puhhleeze.

SmartMoney 8 years, 3 months ago

NotaJayhawk is notaworth paying attention to.

notajayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Ahh, the diehard fan who believes that the colors on his uniform somehow make him a superior player.

Or perhaps 'Smart'Money would care to explain, given his wealth of basketball knowledge, and that's he is worth listening to, exactly what makes Mr. Collins the "best player in college basketball"?

Steve Tramba 8 years, 3 months ago

Collins didn't agree with it, but psychologically it's a brilliant move by Drew. If anyone is angry about the move, you don't get it - it's not the national anthem (well, pending your perspective), and it can be daunting for a visiting team - that's the point isn't it (rev up the crowd/intimidate)? If you make your players believe they can win, have 'em play loose, anything can happen. The 2009 New York Jets could shock the world with such an attitude, and we might get to see Joe Willie kiss another sideline reporter :) Regardless, big cajones by Sherron last night!!! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK, GO KU!!!

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

KU's lucky they got out of there with a win last night. Sherron saved their butts, but he's still not the best player in college basketball.

I am not impressed with this year's Hawks.

Kontum1972 8 years, 3 months ago

RV i am sure the hawks are not losing any sleep over your opinion...its just a game....i am surprised your wasted your time commenting on the hawks season.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

@ Kontum1972

If they had trouble with lowly Baylor at home, just imagine what it's going to be like when they play better teams on the road.

Face it, if KU doesn't make the Final Four, it's a lost season. Unfortunately, that's the standard that KU's held to. From what I've seen so far this year, that isn't going to happen. They're a good team, but they don't look like a bunch of world-beaters to me. Problem is, good isn't good enough for KU. They're held to a higher standard than say KSU.

I don't care if the team reads this...I expect that they're not. It's just my opinion, buddy. Everyone's entitled to have their own.

Like the announcer said last night "Go back and watch the tape and tell me KU was in control of this game".

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

For a preseason #1 (as in favorite to win the national title), I'm a little disappointed. I realize KU didn't put themselves up there, but to me there's a little too much hype about this team and not enough substance yet against quality opponents.

Laura Wilson 8 years, 3 months ago

"Lowly Baylor"? Baylor is ranked in the top 25; they're not "lowly" and every team in the Big 12 is gunning for KU and Texas. Yes, KU struggled last night, but we hung on and won, a lot of that thanks to Collins.

Every team is going to slump at some point. I'd rather us slump now than in the tournament!

MyName 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm confused as to how anyone can be "unimpressed" with a team with a tough schedule (like Kansas) who only has one loss and that was on the road to a ranked opponent.

I can't think of any other fan base in the country with this sense of entitlement (and that includes Duke/UNC/Kentucky).

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