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March 29, 2006

McD's spotlight: Collins proving a point

Team chemistry is one of the key ingredients in the making of a winning team. For the West squad at the McDonald's All American game, the chemistry starts with Sherron Collins pushing the pace and setting up shooters. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound point guard from Crane High School in Chicago, Ill., has a couple points other than scoring baskets that he would like to prove before he heads to Kansas.

While most players are thinking points and spectacular plays like dunks and blocked shots, Collins would like to surpass a record set by former Kansas star Jacque Vaughn in the 1993 McDonald's game.

"My focus is to break the assist record in the game," said Collins, who will need 14 dimes to break Vaughn's record of 13. "It has been a very good learning experience here. I'm just trying to listen to the coaches and improve my game. I just want to become a better player."

Collins, who averaged 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists per game this year, very well may have set the assist record for a single McDonald's practice during his first practice on Sunday. Speedy and powerful, Collins repeatedly got the ball to sharp shooters Chase Budinger and Kevin Durant on the wing in transition and to Spencer Hawes in the paint while running the break.

While continuing to pass the ball up the floor in the following two practices, Collins drove the ball into the lane and scored more often than he did in the first practice.

"The coaches told me I was passing up too many shots after the first practice," he said. "The coaches told me they wanted me to be more aggressive as a scorer. They said for me to take it into the lane and if the shot isn't there, then pass."

Expect Collins to shine tonight in the fast, open court style of the West with shooters surrounding him. Also, don't be surprised to see it get a little personal between Collins and the East point guards Tywon Lawson and Javaris Crittenton.

"Sometimes I think a little about the rankings," said Collins, who is ranked behind Lawson and Crittenton at the point guard position. "It doesn't bother me or anything, but I do think I should be higher. I think I am neck and neck with Lawson, but I think I have the edge on him."

While playing a focused and inspired brand of basketball out here in San Diego, Collins also has his mind on his upcoming season at Kansas.

"My expectations are high," said Collins about his coming freshman season. "I'm anxious to get there. Most of the production came from the freshman this year, and I can't wait to get in good with those guys and start playing with them."


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