Throughout the year most Wake Forest fans have noticed John Collins playing fairly exceptional basketball. That has been taken to an even higher level over the past two and a half weeks.
While the first 17 games of his season were nothing to laugh at, already placing him in the top ten nationally in offensive rating, while also landing in the highest usage bracket in KenPom (basically meaning that he gets the ball a lot and he continues to score the ball efficiently, which is very hard to do), the last six games have seen Collins push his play even more, and he is drawing national notice.
Let’s take a look at the last six games. This featured facing off against: two “A-Tier” teams, two “B-Tier” teams, and one “Other”. Those break down into top 50 (A), top 100 (B), and 100+ (C/Other) teams, but adjusted for location:
Am I picking a bit because the 7th game back was against North Carolina? A little bit, but I also wanted to show how dominant Collins has been recently. Over the past 6 games, Collins is averaging 23 PPG (on 68% shooting, averaging 12 shots a game, for a ridiculous almost 2 points per shot), 10.5 RPG, and 2 BPG.
He has also stayed on the court longer and avoided foul trouble, averaging 27 MPG, which is much improved from his 23-24 MPG in the non-conference slate.
On the season Collins is averaging 17.6 PPG, and 9.3 RPG in 25 minutes per game, while ranking second nationally in Player Efficiency Rating. He joins Caleb Swanigan of Purdue as the only other Power 5 player to average 17 and 9 at this point in the season.
All of this is causing him to shoot up the NBA draft boards. Chad Ford (ESPN) released his third mock draft today and Collins was projected to go 19th, with a comment on how he could move up “significantly” before the draft.
Collins currently ranks 3rd on the ACC all-KenPom team, which weighs everything that a player does, as well as importance in contributing to wins. It’s very hard to even make the team in the ACC if your team isn’t in the top third of the standings, yet Collins is above Luke Kennard and London Perrantes (and, well, everybody except Donovan Mitchell of Louisville, and Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame).
His game tonight against Bonzie Colson should be very interesting because it pits two of the top three players in the ACC statistically against each other. Both currently fly under-the-radar, but are gaining national praise for their play lately.
This is my official warning to Wake Forest fans to prepare for a very realistic chance that Collins could leave after this season.
I do not claim at all to have insider information on what is best for Collins and his family, but given the way he has played, his young age for a sophomore (younger than a few of the top rated freshmen this year), and his potential to get drafted in the middle to late part of the first round, it would not surprise me to see him take the leap to the NBA.
There are always a lot of variables when it comes to evaluating whether or not one should leave school early, and we will touch on those in a later article, but for right now, just enjoy what Collins is bringing to the team this year, because he is having a special year.
This could not have happened to a more humble and better young man than JC. Despite being the 230th ranked player in the 2015 class, he has worked tirelessly on the court and in the weight room to become a better and stronger player when the spotlight is turned on. This is paying off now, and will continue to do so in the future.
This is also a huge credit to head coach Danny Manning, who identified how talented JC was in high school and continued to develop him while at Wake Forest.
We wish nothing but the best to JC the rest of this year, as well as whatever his future may hold (even if we are pretty biased about seeing him for at least one more year in Black and Gold) and are proud to call him a Demon Deacon!