Time for some reflection on the career of Sherron Collins. This weeks presser focuses on the Senior guards final game in Allen Fieldhouse and both Sherron and Coach Self talk about what the program has meant to Collins and what Collins has meant to the program. I'd argue that he's the primary reason Kansas was able to transition so smoothly from one national title to competing for another. Look around, it just doesn't happen that way anymore. You can go back as far as Duke in 2001 and programs take time and sometimes don't recover. If Kansas is able to go through March and win another one with Collins as a senior, I for one won't be expecting as smooth a transition. He's a special player and a special leader on the court for this team.
First up...Bill Self.
On Sherron Collins' contributions over the years:
"I would not say he is our least replaceable part because he was bad at times his freshman year. But by January and February he was the best basketball player on our team. Regardless of who scored the points, he was our best basketball player. He could do more things than anybody else on our team and I heard Bob Huggins, when he was at K-State, say Sherron was the second-best player in our league. Of course, the first was Kevin Durant. But no matter what you did, he could get inside the defense. He would go and make plays that you couldn't coach. He could go make two people guard him and get someone a shot. The other thing about him that is unbelievable is how smart he is. He is smart. He has figured out how to read people and he sees the game through a coach's eyes. He has become a great extension of our staff."
Sherron Collins Press Conference Quotes
On being the face of the team:
"I have broken out of my shell and opened up by being around town and on campus. Now, it just comes natural to me. At home in Chicago you have to keep to yourself in certain places and I think that stuck with me when I cam here, but I realized I had to break that."
On what he likes about Lawrence:
"Besides the fact that it is always cold like home, everything is good. You can go anywhere and everyone treats you well and everyone shows so much support for KU basketball even if we win or lose. Lawrence is my second home and I don't get homesick at all. I love being here."
On his last game at Allen Fieldhouse:
"I try not to think about it, but it is hard not to. I wish I could run from it, but I can't. I wish I had more time to play here. I am trying to figure out if I am going to cry like a baby after the game, but I try to joke a lot and to stay happy."
On playing K-State his final game in Allen Fieldhouse:
"I can't think of anyone better to play, except for maybe Mizzou, but it is a rival game. They are going to give us a run for our money. There is a lot at stake though since we are playing at home."
On Jake Pullen:
"I knew him, but he lived about 40 minutes from me. We played in different leagues in high school, so I didn't play him a lot. We played in AAU tournaments together and neighborhood shootouts. We have a lot of mutual respect for each other and are hoping good things for each other. We talk as much as we can and he is a good friend of mine."
On going to Jake Pullen's senior prom:
"I went to his high school prom with my cousin and I wasn't expecting to see him and he wasn't expecting to see me. It was a big joke and it was really fun."
Life lessons from KU:
"I think I became a better person and a better father at KU. I take things more seriously now and I know how to take care of my responsibilities. I am going to take a whole life experience from Kansas, especially from my coaching staff. They have really been father figures to us."
On his knee injury:
"It was hard. Battling an injury is always hard, but Coach (Self) said there is always something good that comes out of things like that. He was right, everything has been perfect since then. I didn't double-think myself at all and Coach had my best interests at heart. I don't think I would have left after my sophomore year though because so many people on my team were leaving. I don't think I would have given it a thought and I would have been back my junior year, regardless."
On his most memorable game:
"I think most about my breakout game when we played Mizzou my freshman year. I had 23 points with a big three at the end of the game. I knew I could score, but I hadn't had a chance to show everybody. After that game I was one of the best players in the conference for the whole month of February. The amount of confidence that Coach showed in me was unbelievable. That really stands out to me because I was so young and never thought I would have the chance to do that."
On his first recruiting visit:
"It was Late Night and there were a couple other recruits with me like Darrell Arthur. I was kind of set on coming here already; it was between Kansas and Illinois, but after Late Night I was sold. I wanted to commit immediately, but my coaches told me to give it a little bit. So instead of committing the first day after Late Night, I committed the second. Every time I walked on the court they clapped for me and every time I walked off the court they clapped for me. I didn't even know who they were clapping for and then my coach told me. That sold me right there. I also knew Julian Wright and I wanted to get away from home, so it was the perfect scenario."
On being the first male in his family to graduate from college:
"I never thought I would graduate from college. There were certain people that said `you weren't going to make it or that you weren't good enough'. It was tough, but I had good people in my corner like my mother and my big brother. My uncle was my father figure and they all helped keep me out of trouble. My grandmother and my aunts graduated from college, but I am probably the first male in my family to graduate from college."
On being a role model:
"When I go home I try and visit the Boys and Girls Club as much as I can. A lot of people in my neighborhood supported me and I try and show as much support as I can to them now. I know how to tough it is sometimes to grow up in certain situations."
On being a dad:
"I think being a dad has really changed me. Coach Self told me that everything you do for yourself doesn't matter anymore; it is for your mom and your son now. I really took that to heart. My mother had a tough life working two jobs to support my brother and me. She wanted us to have everything all the other kids had. I owe everything to her. I think it is time for her to rest and I want to be there for my son because my dad wasn't there for me. I talk to my dad a lot now, but he always reminds me to do everything I can to be there for my son and not to make mistakes like he did."
On playing football and baseball:
"I don't think I would have played football in college because I don't like to get hit. I like to hit, but I hate getting hit. I played wide receiver in high school, so there were a lot of times I got hit, but I always ran out of bounds. However, baseball I definitely could have played in college. It is my second love after basketball. It was fun sliding and getting dirty."
On what he is going to miss:
"I am going to miss meeting soldiers at practice. I never knew how much we mean to those guys. Those guys that are serving overseas from Kansas stay up until 5 a.m. to watch our games. They are behind us every game and I am going to miss all of them."
"Everyone wants me to dunk, but two points is two points. I can get up there, but I like to save up my energy. Coach sometimes would like to me dunk to change up the tempo of the game. I might try and dunk coming up."
On retiring his jersey:
"Coach said something to me about my jersey being retired. I have the most wins here and I have a pretty solid resume. I would like to get my jersey retired. To have my jersey in the rafters with all the greats would mean a lot to me."