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Archive for Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tough Love: Gritty KU sends Collins out winner

Kansas senior point guard Sherron Collins gets an emotional hug from head coach Bill Self as he is honored by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd before tipping off against Kansas State, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

Kansas senior point guard Sherron Collins gets an emotional hug from head coach Bill Self as he is honored by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd before tipping off against Kansas State, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.

March 4, 2010, 12:00 a.m. Updated March 4, 2010, 9:14 a.m.

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KU vs. KSU

Sherron Collins played his final home game in Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas State Wednesday. The Jayhawks emerged victorious, winning 82-65.

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Bill Self, who preaches toughness as much as any college basketball coach in the country, wrapped his arms around Sherron Collins with 30.4 seconds remaining in Kansas University’s 82-65 victory over rival Kansas State on Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I love ya,” KU coach Self told the 5-foot-11 guard, who had just been bear-hugged by junior center Cole Aldrich at the top of the circle before exiting his final home game and running into his head coach’s embrace.

Self had encouraged Collins late Tuesday night on the phone when Collins was stressing over his Senior Night speech and again at halftime Wednesday after Collins had missed eight of his first nine shots. Self has been as soft as a marshmallow around his star playmaker before.

“He’s told me that a few times. It meant more tonight,” Collins said of the “I love you’s” between him and his mentor.

“It’s all good, ’cause he’s said some other things to me, too,” Collins added with a laugh, referring to harsh words pushing him to be the best he can be.

“I always know he cares. For him to say I’m the best guard he’s coached means a lot to me,” Collins said.

Collins’ Senior Night meant so much to him he couldn’t sleep well Tuesday.

“I called coach,” Collins said. “I said, ‘I don’t know where to start my speech.’ He said, ‘Calm down.’’’

Collins ultimately was able to catch some Z’s, but was all worked up during the daytime hours leading up to the 7 p.m. tipoff.

Collins sobbed during a pregame ceremony in which he was presented his No. 4 jersey, with his mom, Stacey, repeatedly rubbing his back at center court. Self jokingly gave Collins a little slap to the face before hugging him after the short ceremony.

Nothing worked as Collins, as well as junior Cole Aldrich (two points, one rebound first half), who also most certainly played his last game in the fieldhouse, were abysmal in the first 20 minutes.

KU, thanks to Xavier Henry’s 15 points, still led, 45-38, at the break.

“I was a little jittery, too anxious,” Collins said. “I wanted to do so well I got out of my character a bit. I was shooting quick shots. Coach told me to relax. I took a couple deep breaths, had a little pep talk with myself at halftime.”

Collins scored nine points with two assists and two rebounds the second half, while Aldrich had seven points, three boards and three blocks. Both were instrumental in a 19-4 run that turned a 59-55 lead into a 78-59 advantage.

“I should have told him (Collins) that after the first timeout,” Self joked of settling him down. “I told he and Cole both ... I told him (Collins), ‘Your bad shots led to baskets for them.’ He was just pressing. The second half, he played with poise. He controlled the game. He drove the ball as opposed to just settling.

“He’s one of those guys I don’t ever want to tell him, ‘Don’t shoot it or be aggressive,’ because he can make one, and that can become four or five in a row and be the difference in the game.”

Of Aldrich, who hasn’t yet said he’s officially headed to the pros, Self said: “It was also emotional for Cole. We didn’t talk about that because it’s Senior Night, not a Junior Night, but it was emotional for Cole. He came to life the last 10, 12 minutes.”

Collins, who had 26 family members and close friends in the stands, graciously thanked his relatives, coaches, teammates and KU support-staff members during a 10-minute postgame speech.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is it. This is it.’ I didn’t want to get off the court,” said Collins, who gave his speech with seven props — the four Big 12 regular season trophies he has won, two postseason conference trophies and national title trophy. “I wish the game could have gone on all night.

“I think it ranks in the top three (moments of his life),” added Collins, who has a 3-year-old son and baby daughter. “The last game here ... to go out with a win, it was perfect.”

For the record, he finished his final home game with 17 points off 5-of-15 shooting (one of seven threes) and 6-of-6 free throwing. He had four assists, three turnovers, a block and steal in 38 minutes.

His final fieldhouse bucket was a driving layup right before Self removed him from the game.

Perhaps fellow Chicago native Jacob Pullen let Collins drive past him to make the night even more special, since the game was out of reach?

“We’re good friends,” Collins said, “but I don’t think he gave me anything. That was a big win for us. They’ve got a great team, and it gets us back on track after Oklahoma State (loss Saturday). Hopefully we’ve got a lot more wins in us.”

The Jayhawks, who wrapped up the undisputed league title and No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big 12 tournament, improved to 28-2 overall and 14-1 in the league. Second-place KSU fell to 24-5, 11-4.

KU will conclude the regular season at Missouri on Saturday in a 1 p.m. tipoff.

Comments

Brave21Hawk 4 years, 1 month ago

I read this entire article with joy for Sherron and had it all ruined by one simple comment (question or whatever) that Pullen may have just let him have that basket at the end. Heck we've all seen the clear out for Sherron time and time again only to see him take charge and score against some the best defenders in the Big XII and the nation. What disrespect to Sherron and Pullen both.

I'm certainly happy for the team but especially for Sherron that he got a special senior night in front of the most loyal fans in the country bar none. It was amazing how they came out strong and kept their poise during K-State's runs only to put the game out of reach late. There was a heck of a lot of pressure on all the guys to step up and play well for the final home game and against their in-state rival not just for Sherron. The home win streak was on the line, a possible #1 seed in the NCAA, and the outright Big XII title. Great job to the guys, fans, and coaches.

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Brian Conrad 4 years, 1 month ago

Sherron is The Greatest! from all the enjoyment I receive watching , even 100 times better to see these young men develope into such great guys! horrible play by play. Thought Bobby Knight bad.. this guy was sooooo KSU bias GLAD HE HAD TO EAT CROW. he said early KU fans were pretty much stupid to think it would be a blow out and all praise like KSU was going to win as they pulled even .... then "THE BEATDOWN" was on! KU played Great last 10 minutes. Nobody... not Syracuse, No one can handle KU when they kick it up. in smaller games the players seem to want to please Coach often play timid... but when the game is on the line. WHAMMMMOOO. One tip when they play timid , full court press. these guys are such tremendous players the instinct comes out and they do not over think ... they just Crush people.. little off? full court press!!

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martyks 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't want to get into the negative stuff here, but Martin's time out was pathetic. Remember how gracious Sutton was on Senior Night at our house? What's this guy's problem? There's a time to be a competitor and a time to give a nod to someone who has been good for the game. Yeah, it drug on a long time, but his behavior at the end of this game was much worse than Drew's actions during the pregame of Baylor's. It's Senior Night, Frank. The game's decided. Grow up, and get a grip already.

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bankboy119 4 years, 1 month ago

Ron....KState can definitely make a deep run to in the tournament. They have been great. And even with the loss at KU last night, Joe Lunardi has them as the 4th #1 seed in the tournament. KU played lights out (for the most part) last night and if we continue to play like that we will be extremely difficult to beat.

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bankboy119 4 years, 1 month ago

Ron....KState can definitely make a deep run to in the tournament. They have been great. And even with the loss at KU last night, Joe Lunardi has them as the 4th #1 seed in the tournament. KU played lights out (for the most part) last night and if we continue to play like that we will be extremely difficult to beat.

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imagold 4 years, 1 month ago

Pass the tissues. That was a wonderful Senior speech, Sherron. Seriously, I'm sitting here wiping tears. Good luck in the final games of the Jayhawk season. Good luck with your NBA career. But more importantly, good luck to you and your family and make your children proud. Rock Chalk, Sherron, Rock Chalk!

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Catbacker 4 years, 1 month ago

Not really...the #1 team was down nearly twenty for much of the Okie Lt. game.

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ronwell_dobbs 4 years, 1 month ago

Says an awful lot about a supposed #5 team to lose by nearly 20 points.

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ronwell_dobbs 4 years, 1 month ago

Says an awful lot about a supposed #5 team to lose by nearly 20 points.

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Catbacker 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm still here jonas. I never predicted a Cats win, though. Sherron played horrible in the first half...his emotions must have really got to him. He did what he does after the Cats tied the game in the 2nd...hats off to him. Also thought Markeiff stepped up huge, and X finally looks like the match up problem he should be. The Cats won't face that kind of challenge again, even if they were to make a Final Four, so I wasn't expecting a W...a closer final score...yes.

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edjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

The picture says it all. RCJH

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amrcngrl75 4 years, 1 month ago

Beginning February 5, via the Bob Cousy Award’s website – www.cousyaward.com – fans will be able to vote for the top point guard. The player that receives the most fan votes will receive one vote toward the final committee vote. Fan voting will run one month – beginning February 5 and will conclude March 5. Fans can vote one time per e-mail address per 24 hour period.

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jonas_opines 4 years, 1 month ago

Someone should do an article on the sudden evaporation of all the K-State trolls that were all over the place for the last few days. It's like a dirty form of the rapture must have happened sometime around 8:30 last night.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 1 month ago

congrats to a good guy. thanks, sherron. :)

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Armen Kurdian 4 years, 1 month ago

Joy. Another crushing humiliation of K-State. Glorious. Simply glorious.

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newmedia 4 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations fellows. Another great win. Enjoy it today and then go out Saturday and finish the job by providing Misery a little misery of their own !!

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