When Sherron Collins, the 5-foot-11 point guard out of Chicago's Crane Tech, burst onto the scene at the Boo Williams Invitational last month, his game was strong. Strong enough to move from Top 40 to Top 15 status in his class.
Just weeks before Collins' breakout effort, Crane Tech alum Will Bynum was putting the finishing touches on an excellent career at Georgia Tech. Crane coach Anthony Longstreet says while Collins and Bynum share some similarities, they are different players.
"There strong as bulls, they get to the rack anytime they want and they can take the hit and finish the play," Longstreet said. "They have an inner button that they push when they're challenged and they both hate to lose. It's almost like they're long lost brothers. Will is more explosive and a better ball handler. Sherron is a better playmaker and maybe a tad better shooter."
Both are big time. Bynum started at Arizona before finishing up at Georgia Tech. So what does Collins' path look like? That's the million dollar question but according to Longstreet, we're a long way from finding out.
Longstreet says Collins is pretty much off limits these days, especially to college coaches. "It should be shut down, but you know those guys," Longstreet says, "they've got ways of trying to sneak in there. To my knowledge, he's been referring those people to me. The people we talk to have been pretty understanding in terms of letting him focus on the stuff he needs to focus on."
When Longstreet talks about "focus" what he means is academics not school lists or visits.
"I think the thing that we'll use with Sherron is that we'll try to pick the best program for him in terms of what is on the priority list. Getting to the priority list is 4th on the priority list now. First is academics. I don't want [recruiting] to be a distraction and right now that would be a distraction."
Longstreet says colleges are constantly hitting him up but he's telling them all the same thing: wait until the end of the summer. "They all call and we decided that he's not going to talk to anybody until after the summer," Longstreet said. "Hopefully then he'll be more prepared to deal with that. I don't want to do anything more to distract him than he's already distracted."
As it stands, Collins has not had to deal with his recruitment at all. Longstreet has been the point man and little has been asked of the guard in terms of giving feedback to the programs that are recruiting him.
"I tell him to enjoy the peace now because I know it's going to get crazy."
Right now it's just crazy hard to get a list of schools that are chasing Collins or any programs that he himself is said to like. Illinois and Iowa however, always come up in conversation and Longstreet says there's a reason they do.
"They were in there before this little stretch he hit. He played in their camps. That's how they pretty much got the edge. Maybe it'll be a lesson for some of the other coaches. "He went to their camps and they got a chance to see him first hand. They knew about him before all you guys did. It's not like he just got good. He played on a team with four, maybe five Division I ballplayers with him running."
Most recruitments don't follow this sort of plan but both Collins and Longstreet seem comfortable with each others roles. Collins deflects the questions to his coach and coach handles the inquiries.
"I hate to put it like that because I don't want it to seem like I'm arrogant," Longstreet said. "It needs to be understood that I'm trying to do what's best for Sherron. If he starts thinking about this and that and is ready to sign, is it worth it? I'm sure there will be five teams out there that will give him a visit." Oh, they'll be at least five teams. Especially when the coach says we haven't seen his player's best yet. "I think he's played OK but he hasn't played nowhere near what he's capable of. He's had flashes."
Longstreet sees a limited amount of summer events for his star. He'll attend the Nike All-American Camp and play at the Peach Jam.