Collins Responds to the Challenge

Freshman Sherron Collins has shown flashes of brilliance during Big 12 play, but find out why his on the court performance might be the easy part of this year for KU's talented freshman. Phog.net has the story of Sherron's toughest challenge yet.

It took one glance to understand why Sherron Collins’ recruitment was such a heated one. The 5-11 dynamo starred at Crane High School in Chicago and excelled as a Parade and McDonald’s All-American. Some players just have that special something – a certain moxie, a certain presence. Collins brought it to the basketball court, the gridiron, and the baseball diamond starring in three sports and being recruited to play each at the collegiate level.

But when he arrived on the campus of KU, he was just like any other 19-year old college kid. Well, at least in some respects. Collins’ diet featured a steady supply of fast food and his weight got as high as 228 lbs. at one point.

He had a couple of decent games and was a regular contributor off the bench for head coach Bill Self early on, but something was missing. That was until Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning, Andrea Hudy and Nutritionist, Randy Bird took over.

The first step was eliminating the “college diet” and putting Sherron on a strict 2,000 calorie per-day limit for a couple of weeks. Not only was his caloric intake limited, but Hudy would actually meet Collins for breakfast and lunch to watch his food intake. Athletic trainer Billy Cowgill would take over the observations at dinner time.

The next step involved a heavy dose of cardio for the explosive guard, and less time in the weight room. Sherron has a naturally strong body and a thick build. As a result, according to Hudy, Sherron’s weightlifting activity was also restricted. How much? A lot is contingent upon what his weight is at the time. But the truth is most of the time while his teammates are pumping iron; Sherron is usually working on pumping his heart.

In an effort to lose more weight Collins also took on extra cardio workouts on top of daily practices, a very tall order for ANYONE. It was a workout regime Hudy admitted probably made Sherron’s legs a bit “heavy”. A double-dose of workouts with that type of intensity takes dedication and Sherron certainly deserves the praise for his dedication.

“We taught him and he learned. It was all on him. This was probably the hardest thing he’s ever done,” said Hudy.

So the new Sherron was primed and ready by the start of the Big 12 season and it has certainly showed. Collins is now right around 200 lbs. and the KU training staff actually hopes to see him under 200 lbs. at some point. The amazing transformation hasn’t gone unnoticed and Self is aware of the biggest difference in Sherron’s game midway through the Big 12 season.

“Conditioning,” Self answered quickly. “He always tried hard but the biggest thing is conditioning. The body will now cooperate and do what the mind tells it too.”

So now his on the court performance probably feels like the easy part for KU’s prized freshman guard.

Sherron’s quick first step is back and so is that extra bounce. He looks remarkably quicker and Hudy told Phog.net that someone who hadn’t seen Sherron play since earlier in the season remarked how he didn’t even look like the same player.

The numbers tell you what Collins has meant to this Jayhawk squad. He’s hit double-figures in scoring in six of his last seven games. His three-point percentage leads the team (over 44 percent), he is the team’s second-leading scorer in Big 12 play and he’s shooting well over 50 percent from the field and from three in conference play. He scored 23 points in 26 minutes against Missouri and you wonder where KU would’ve been without him in that contest. Against Texas Tech he nearly willed his team to a comeback win down the stretch.

Even more important than putting up sheer numbers, he’s evolving into a leader for this Kansas team.

“I would say he’s becoming more and more of a leader. When he’s playing well he has as much presence as anyone,” said Self about Collins. “In the Missouri and Texas Tech games, guys were looking for him as much as anyone. I think guys look to him and that’s pretty good for a freshman.”

Hudy believes weight will always be a struggle for Sherron during his KU career because he’s “genetically a thicker guy.” But if this season is any indication, I wouldn’t doubt that Collins can conquer anything he wants to.


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