Collins Comes Back

The injury bug has taken a big bite out of Sherron Collins this season, but Saturday the sophomore guard bit back with 18 points and an impressive performance against in-state rival KSU.

The 2007-2008 season has been a frustrating one for 5-11 sophomore Sherron Collins. Injury after injury resulted in a reduction in points and minutes played. After coming out of the gates strong in the first two games of the season any momentum Collins could gain came to screeching halt after a stress fracture and most recently a deeply bruised right knee.

His head coach recently said, “Sherron is just a shell of himself”. And he was.

But Wednesday against Iowa State, Collins showed signs of improvement and appeared to be moving more fluidly on that right knee. Though he played just 18 minutes and scored only seven points, there were reasons for optimism.

“He’s feeling a lot better. He actually moved better against Iowa State. We gave him off that week and he moved terribly against Oklahoma State and was no factor. He was a little bit more of a factor against Iowa State but the last two days he’s moved better,” said head coach Bill Self.

Kansas fans and coaches have been waiting to the see the qualities a healthy Collins brings to the court. He’s a tough defender with quick hands and a nose for the ball, he brings energy, he’s a terrific ball-handler, a decent shooter, and most importantly – gets to the rim and creates better than any other player on Bill Self’s roster.

Saturday against Kansas State all these traits were on display.

Collins showed no ill effects of any pain and admitted energy and adrenaline can make you forget about injuries at times. As a result Collins blistered K-State for 18 points, including 3-7 from deep. He had lift on his jump shot, quickness off the dribble, and he stuffed the stat sheet with Sherron-like numbers -- four assists, four steals, just one turnover, and three rebounds. The best news for Self and Co. was his ability to play 29 impactful minutes almost pain-free.  

“I could feel it Wednesday it was getting better. I was able to do stuff I wasn’t able to do earlier in the week in two days it turned around,” said Collins who admitted he felt pain twice on Saturday.

“Doctor just says he’s going to keep getting better and the bruise is going to continue to heal and he’ll be where his pain-free here real soon. I thought he was great tonight,” Self told reporters. “That’s what we’ve been missing for the most part for the entire year. It’s just to have somebody that was that explosive that could change a game and he certainly was a great spark tonight.”

The Collins’ swagger appeared to return and so did the bounce in his step. After the game KU strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy said, “that was Sherron”. And it was.

He had that determined look in his eyes on defense and got down deep in a defensive stance embracing the idea of moving laterally to stop his man, and for the first time in a long time, he fashioned a smile. Several times after timeouts he ran to the bench nodding his head and smiling as if to say, “This is what I’m talking about.”

Collins fed off the crowd and also got a huge lift from family members who arrived in Lawrence Saturday including his mother and his son Sherr’mari Marlon.

“My mom came down, my son came down so I mean everything was happy for me. This game took my mind off my knee. I wanted to beat K-State but it was a plus to have my mom here.”

If Collins continues to play at this level it will be a huge plus for Kansas in March. Sherron thinks he may have turned the corner and feels as good as he has in “months” which could be troubling news for the opposition.  

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