Collins says he's headed to the NBA

It was long rumored, but now appears to be true -- Inglewood High senior DeAngelo Collins declared for the NBA Draft on Tuesday, according to reports by ESPN. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound senior becomes the third California high school player to declare in the last three years, following DeShawn Stephenson (2000) and Tyson Chandler (2001).

Collins is the first high school senior to officially declare for this year's draft. Draft experts say Collins has an NBA body and speculation is that Collins could be selected anywhere from the middle of the first round to the early second round.

Other high school seniors who have been mentioned as declaring for the NBA Draft this year include Lenny Cooke of New Jersey, Amare Stoudemire of Florida, Jason Frazier of New York and Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony, who finished high school in Virginia.

Collins averaged 25.5 points and 16.1 rebounds while earning first-team All-State honors by Cal-Hi Sports and second-team All-West honors by Student Sports Magazine. The Torrance Daily Breeze, which covers Inglewood, went with guard Hassan Adams of Los Angeles Westchester as the area Player of the Year over Collins. Adams also was the Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year.

Collins was a junior high phenom in Stockton, then started high school at Tustin in Orange County. He transfered to Inglewood for his junior and senior years.

"I think basketball may have come a little too easy for me early on," Collins told Student Sports before the EA Roundball Classic. "I didn't work as hard at it as I should have and definitely not as hard as I do now. Before the summer, I knew what people were saying about me. I didn't have the best junior season so I put the work in and it paid off."

After much promise Collins emerged at the Adidas ABCD camp last summer. He was dominant throughout and finished in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. He topped it off by earning MVP honors in the All-Star game.

Collins went into the high school season ranked No. 20 in the Student Sports Hot 100.

In last year's draft, Chandler was selected No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers then dealt to the Chicago Bulls in the Elton Brand swap. Stephenson was the No. 23 pick in the first round in 2000 by the Utah Jazz and has seen limited action the past two seasons.

Chandler also was one of four preps taken among the top eight in last year's draft. He went behind No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown of Georgia, but was in front of Bulls teammate Eddie Curry (No. 4) of Illinois and 7-foot center Desegana Diop (No. 8) of national power Oak Hill Academy.

This year's crop of high schoolers, no matter who declares or not, is not expected to come close to the drafting position of last year's foursome.


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