One of the biggest shortfalls for Danny Manning in his inaugural season at Wake Forest was the lack of post defense and depth behind productive power forward Devin Thomas. The only way to fix this was to hit the recruiting trail and upgrade the talent behind Thomas going into the 2015-2016 season. Manning did just that, adding four star recruits 7'1" Doral Moore and 6'10" John Collins to the mix.
Of the three newcomers in the 2015 class, Collins is perhaps the most lightly regarded by the major recruiting services. However, at this point it seems that he may be ready to contribute at a higher level than Moore due to his motor and athleticism around the rim. Weighing in at 225 lbs, he is a bit slight for an ACC anchor at this early point in his career. However, under the direction of strength coach Ryan Horn I would expect that number to increase over the course of his time at Wake Forest. In his senior season at Cardinal Newman HS in West Palm Beach, FL, Collins averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds and collected 4A Florida Player of the Year honors.
As I referenced above, the key for "JC" this season is to provide depth behind Devin Thomas as a spark off the bench and, most importantly, to boost the Deacs' post defense and rebounding. With a lack of talent in this area last year, dominant post players such as Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas seemingly got whatever they wanted. Adding Collins and Moore to the mix seems like a considerable improvement and also provides insurance for Thomas or Dinos Mitoglou foul trouble.
On the offensive end, Collins' game at this point is ten feet and in, producing on post ups, offensive rebounds and transition dunks. Under the tutelage of Danny Manning, I would expect his post moves and mid-range game to progress over his WF tenure - just don't expect a lot of that this season.
As one of the only bright spots of the exhibition win against UNCP, Collins had an extremely productive line. In only 12 minutes of action he had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals. That alone shows the type of activity level and energy that JC will bring to the floor this year. Overall, I would anticipate around 16-20 minutes per game for Collins - possibly more if Manning chooses defense over the offense of Mitoglou for certain matchups or foul trouble.
Check out JC's senior highlight video below as the Deacs prepare to open the season Friday night at 8 vs UMBC.