"I stuck with him because he was out there fighting," Collins said. Abrahamson would score eight points and add three rebounds in 17 minutes — which included some nice defensive sequences as well. He was the nice story from a severely disappointing loss to Illinois State on Sunday night.
Abrahamson said that after the exhibition game against Lewis, he took advantage of Collins' "open-door" policy and vented his frustrations.
"I obviously told him I wanted to play more and that I was unhappy," Abrahamson said.
Collins was receptive, even saying last week that he'd be disappointed if Kale wasn't unhappy with his playing time. He just needed to fight for minutes and, as always, be a good teammate.
"You play a ton better when you're not worried about your shots," Abrahamson said of Collins' overall message.
Perhaps he was last season. In Bill Carmody's Princeton offense, Abrahamson seemed awfully one-dimensional. Despite some flashes of potential, the former three-star recruit was often comfortable to throw up shots.
About two-thirds of Abrahamson's field goal attempts last season came from behind the arc. He shot only 36 percent overall, averaging 4.9 points and 2 rebounds in NU's underwhelming campaign.
But then, at least he played. And given the Wildcats' lack of depth, you might think that Abrahamson would have an immediate role. He didn't, which led to his discussion with Collins. The head coach seemed comfortable playing only eight guys, including Nate Taphorn, who appeared to lap Abrahamson in the lineup. Through the experience, however, Abrahamson spent his time effectively — or so he thinks.
"I've been doing some soul-searching as I've not been playing," he said. "I think I've gotten away from who I am as a player, to be honest. I definitely, throughout my basketball life, haven't been a stand-still shooter."
Tonight, it was all about the aggressive effort and a promise fulfilled. Collins gave him an opportunity, and if more arrive, Abrahamson needs to be ready.
"Coach is a class act," Abrahamson said. "I'll never say a bad word about him. It was a great meeting."
It sure looked it. Once on the edge of relevance, Abrahamson just made the first step towards earning back a significant role.