Former KU star Nick Collison taking on new role within Thunder front office

Jayhawk great and former Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Nick Collison smiles as he watches from behind the bench during the second half on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Three years removed from the end of his playing career, former Kansas basketball star Nick Collison is launching into a new line of work with the same organization that employed him throughout his 15 years in the NBA.

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced this week Collison will join the front office as a special assistant to the franchise’s executive vice president and general manager, Sam Presti.

Per a release from the Thunder, Collison will work closely with Presti and other members of the team’s brain trust on various initiatives and projects, covering many areas of the organization’s basketball operations.

Drafted 12th overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2003, before the franchise relocated to Oklahoma and rebranded, Collison never played for another organization and retired at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season. He is currently the only Thunder player to have his jersey (No. 4) retired.

Over the past two seasons, Collison worked for OKC in a role the team described as a basketball operations representative.

Collison played for the SuperSoncis during his first five years as a pro (he missed the entirety of the 2003-04 season due to injury) and the Thunder for the final 10 seasons of his career. In total, he played 910 games and made 177 starts, as he spent the bulk of his days in the NBA as a key role player in the post for the franchise.

His best season statistically came in 2007-08, when Collison averaged a career-high in both points (9.8 per game) and rebounds (9.4). Over the course of his career, Collison averaged 5.9 points and 5.2 boards, while shooting 53.4% from the field and playing 20.4 minutes a game.

At KU, Collison took on a starring role for the Jayhawks as they made back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003. As a senior, Collison averaged a double-double — 18.5 points and 10 rebounds — on his way to becoming the Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American.


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