Freshman Corban Collins is one of five new faces on the 2012-13 LSU basketball team.
Listed at 6-3, 192 pounds, Collins, from High Point, N.C., is a combo guard – able to play both the point and off the ball – who feels more comfortable leading the show.
He begins practice this fall competing for time at the one with sophomore incumbent Anthony Hickey, a lightning-quick player who in many ways is a direct contrast to Collins, at least in stature.
Hickey is at least three inches shorter and 10-15 pounds lighter than Collins, who enters campus among the biggest backcourt Tigers signed in recent memory.
Coach Johnny Jones has also made no secret that Hickey and Collins will see time together on the floor this season with Collins.
So, with the season quickly approaching, get to know Corban Collins.
Below are quotes from the LSU freshman guard as well as several quotes on him by teammates and Coach Jones. There's also a player evaluation from the Tigers' opening practice Friday afternoon.
QUOTES FROM COLLINS
"The vibe when I came on my visit, the vibe that I caught, I just loved it. Then I knew with Coach Jones and the coaching staff and what they wanted do with the program, I felt like I'd be a perfect match for that."
- On why he chose LSU
"It was close to the end of the school year. It was actually about two weeks out of graduation, I was sitting down with my dad and my AAU coach and my high school coach, and we were all just talking. I told them ‘I'm just ready to play college ball.' I just feel like I've got the right body for it, my mindset is right and I work hard. I told them (that's what I wanted to do) as long as I get an opportunity, but I don't want to let coach [his high school coach] down. They told me if that's really what you want to do, then go for it."
- On how he decided to go in the Class of 2012, not 2013
"Coach Kirby, I've known him through my AAU coach because he recruited Dee Bost, and Dee Bost played under the same AAU program as me. So he already was recruiting me (at Georgetown), then when he got the job here he just said that he wanted me to come."
- On his connection with LSU assistant Robert Kirby
"Honestly, I really didn't know much about LSU basketball other than of course Shaq went here, Big Baby went here, Marcus Thornton went here. But as far as the history of the program, I didn't know much. So when I first came here it was all new on my visit. Everything was new. I went home, did my research, learned about the program, learned about Coach Jones and the coaching staff, and realized this is where I wanted to be."
- On his familiarity as a kid with the LSU program
"We complement each other really well. We're learning how to play off of each other already, so we know how to find each other and feed each other the ball where we like it."
- On playing alongside Anthony Hickey occasionally in open gym
"Those guys already have experience, at least a year's experience, and everybody knows that LSU has small guards. I bring in a different type of guard, a different look. I'm bigger. I'm physical. I like to play with my body and play with contact, so it's a different look to hopefully throw the defense off."
- On being bigger than the rest of LSU's guards
"I feel myself as more of a point guard. I've always been a point guard my whole life. I'm more of a true point guard who passes first and gets everybody going. Defensively, it doesn't matter. I'm going to lock up whoever."
- On playing the one or two on both offense and defense
QUOTES ON COLLINS
"He's different than Hickey. He's a bigger build. He's a big point guard, a really, really strong point guard. He handles pressure really well and has a pretty good shot, but he has a long way to go. But I could definitely see midway through the year or even at the start of the year him making an impact. Physically, he's developed. With freshman, though, it's just tough. I do think he'll be able to make an impact."
- Eddie Ludwig on Collins' immediate potential
"I think the most ready, body-wise, is Corban. He's got a thick frame. He's very explosive, he's fast. If I was to pick one, that's who I'd pick just based on his body. But all of those guys have talent and they all can play."
- Andre Stringer on which of the freshmen looks most ready
"We push each other. He's my little big brother. But it's a great push for me knowing that there's a bigger guard in front of me, so I have to make the right decision the first time to move around him and use my speed. It's about us pushing each other every day … I'll run the two a lot too. I got my jumper down consistent (in the offseason). We've got a lot of changes going on with this team."
- Anthony Hickey on competing with Collins, playing next to him
"Corban, I think will be very competitive. I think it's been great to see the two guys really compete against each other at that point guard spot. Anthony Hickey, obviously having that one year of experience under his belt at this level, playing against quality competition night in and night out. It's tough to get that anywhere else. I think when Corban has an opportunity to be out there on the floor against that caliber of competition night in and night out some great things have a tendency of happening for him. He will be a freshman, but I think when you have an opportunity to see him and his build, he won't back down from anybody. I think you'll look at him as somewhat like a Hickey when he came in as a freshman. He's a guy that can play quality minutes. Again, you can find both of those guys on the floor at the same time because both are great decision makers. It's something that we look forward to exploring as well."
- Coach Johnny Jones on Collins' impact as a freshman
EVALUATION FROM FRIDAY PRACTICE
Collins is an impressive physical specimen, standing tall and strong as a one or two guard. He looks to me like he's carved from the Eric Reid mold. Both guys are about the same height, but Collins may be 10-12 pounds lighter than Reid. Both, though, are muscular and extremely well-built …
He looked a little bit stiff and rigid during various defensive slide and close-out drills. That may be part of the drawback with a guy carrying so much mass (at least in terms of a basketball player). There wasn't a real fluidity of any sort to his movement, instead the steps were a bit choppier and his motion at times a little herky-jerky. Again, it was only practice one, so expect improvements on his form …
But he doesn't seem to lack at all for confidence, focus and being vocal out on the court, three very good traits for a young player. During two-on-two drills mainly working on help defense, Collins was very loud and communicative helping his defensive partner. He's definitely not timid as has been the case with several freshmen in the LSU program the past few years. It's also a good sign for a player expected to see some time at the point. He'll bark at people and put them in their correct positions …
Finally, there were brief glimpses today of something many of his teammates spoke about on Media Day. Collins does seem to have this ability to hang in the air, absorb some contact and stay pretty strong through the finish. Again, there weren't many opportunities today, but when he took it to the hole, there wasn't anything remotely resembling a floater or fade-away. He played into the body of the defender and rose strong toward the goal. Will be interesting to watch a guard with those kind of skills, instincts showcase in the LSU offense.
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