Collins' Stock on the Rise

Just two months after receiving his first college scholarship offer, 2016 basketball prospect Zach Collins is quickly becoming one of the more sought after big men out west.After visiting Arizona State on Friday, Devils Digest caught up with him to discuss his visit and the recruiting process.

"It was really fun," said Collins of the visit. "They really impressed me with their campus and all their facilities and just the way they run their school and play basketball. It was really nice and I liked it a lot."

A day after visiting rival Arizona, the 6-10, 215 pound center was hosted by Arizona State coaches Herb Sendek, Stan Johnson and Larry Greer, who shared their vision of how they see the center fitting into the team's offensive and defensive philosophies.

"They just see me doing what I do best, coming off the pick and roll and being able to do multiple things, you know, like pick and pop and getting to the basket," he said. "Also, they like my shooting ability and my team style of play. They see me coming in and continuing what they've been doing, which is playing good team basketball."

Despite playing in a limited role as a sophomore at Bishop Gorman last season, the center has experienced a recent spike in his recruiting, attracting attention from coast to coast. As a sophomore at Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV), Collins averaged just six points and four rebounds while coming off the bench for the Gaels.

However, his steadily improved play and recent breakout at an AAU tournament in Dallas with his club team, DreamVision, has led to an increased amount of recruiting interest for the big man.

After landing his first scholarship offer from New Mexico back in April, Collins has seen the list grow quickly, including offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Iowa, Oklahoma, Southern California, UNLV and Wake Forest.

"I'm definitely getting some good interest from all those schools," Collins said. "I've been hearing a lot from Arizona and definitely Arizona State. Actually, most of the Pac-12 schools, which is the majority of my offers so far.

"Each school has been treating me good but I have to say that Arizona has been really good to us, as well as Gonzaga. Every other school has been going really good so far too."

Aside from his improved play, Collins credits his continued growth and the development of his game as driving forces behind his recruitment.

As a freshman, Collins was listed at 6-6 and admits he was unable to dunk the basketball. But all of that changed seemingly overnight.

Collins has grown four inches since he first arrived at Bishop Gorman and now sports the type of athleticism to complement his game in the paint.

"My whole life it's always been that I'm growing too fast for my own good," he said. "I never really had a growth sport; I've just been constantly growing fast. So now, my body is starting to catch up with itself and I'm starting to become more efficient as far as finishing stronger and blocking more shots and even if I don't block it, I still affect the shot.

"But yeah, definitely when I got my first dunk, I kind of saw the light because my whole life I never thought I was going to be a big leaper. From that moment, I just wanted to dunk it more and dunk it more and I think it's helped a lot with my confidence around the rim and having the mindset of I can do what everyone else is doing now and finish at the rim and challenge other shot blockers."

That athleticism and his presence around the rim have drawn comparisons to former Sun Devil center Jordan Bachynski, who the Arizona State coaching staff envisions Collins resembling at the college level.

"Jordan was very effective for them," he said. "They showed me some of his film and I definitely think I could bring that to the team and they also thought that. Up until recently I wasn't really a shot blocker but I'm starting to time it better. I'm starting to jump at the right time so I'm coming into my own as far as shot blocking goes."

And after his visit to Arizona on Thursday, Collins mentioned that the Sun Devil coaches made sure to show them Bachynski's game-saving block against the Wildcats from last season.

Like, Bachynski, Collins says he prefers to play with his back to the basket on the block, but that he has also been working to expand his perimeter game as well.

"From day one of my life I've always kind of been an old school type of player, I'll just go in and pound," he said. "I like contact. I like getting into guys and getting physical. It just motivates me and gets me going another gear.

"But I also have a finesse game. I like going outside and shooting the mid-range shot and three pointers. One thing I've prided myself on my whole life is my jump shot. At this point though, I really need to work on my dribbling to be more effective out there. But mostly inside out is the way I like to play."

Another factor in the recent development of Collins' improved play has been the competition he's faced each day in practice at school, where he plays behind two five star post players in Chase Jeter and Stephen Zimmerman.

"It's definitely been a blessing but kind of in disguise because it is very frustrating sometimes when I don't succeed as well as them in practice or in games," Collins admitted. "But I always have to tell myself that they're older than me and obviously gifted. When they were my age, they were probably in the same position that I'm in now.

"I've grown so much just from them. They don't take it easy on me. I hate them for it in practice but I wish I could give both of them a big hug right now for it because I know it's helped me."

While college is still two years away for Collins, he said his hope is to pick a school or at least narrow his list down to a select few before the start of his senior season at Bishop Gorman.

"I'm just looking for a place that treats me right and I could fit in well at," he said. "I'll definitely be more attracted to a school that goes through their bigs more often than another school. And then yeah, just a place where I fit in and at the end of the day, a place where me and my family are happy with the decision."

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