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Individual Player Recap: John Collins

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Wake Forest enjoyed a breakout year in part of Collins’ contributions this season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Four-Kansas State vs Wake Forest Brian Spurlocki-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps no player on the Wake basketball team surpassed expectations than Sophomore John Collins. After a solid freshman year, Collins emerged as the best player out of the class of 2015 (beating higher “ranked” teammates in Doral Moore and Bryant Crawford). Collins saw his productivity increase tremendously as he grew more comfortable under Danny Manning’s tutelage.

While being paired with stretched big, Konstantinos Mitoglou, Collins had the room and ability to operated extremely effectively throughout the season. After posting a solid freshman season of 14.4 mpg, 7.3 ppg, and 3.9rpg while shooting 54.7% from the field, Collins truly broke out for his second year with 26.6 mpg, 19.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and 1.6 bpg while shooting 62.2% from the floor and 74.5% from the free throw line which was important as he shot 6.7 freebies a night.

John Collins was simply unstoppable this season.

Collins’ improvement wasn’t just praised by the faithful of the Demon Deacs, national and conference media members were also impressed with his improved play, awarding him accolades such as 2nd team All-American, 1st team All-ACC, and ACC’s Most Improved Player award.

With such improvement in play, it wasn’t just the college ranks that have noticed. The NBA is now eager to see what this man could do at the professional level.

Collins had declared for the NBA Draft but did not hire an agent, keeping his eligibility intact if he ultimately decided to come back to school for his junior season. With some scouts pegging him as a top 20 pick in the upcoming loaded NBA draft, Collins is smart to test the waters of his NBA potential, as it is the dream of any serious basketball player. He has kept the door open in case the NBA agents and teams signal that he would not be drafted at least in the first round, which would allow for him to come back to school for another year.

Personally, as a fan of the program, it’ll be hard to see such an important piece leave but I would be happy either way as JC getting drafted in the first round would signal that the Deacs are inching closer to the days of Chris Paul, Ish Smith, and Tim Duncan. If Collins were to come back to school, it would be nice to see him develop into a more rounded offensive player who fouls a bit less.

My gut tells me that Collins is likely to leave but I’ve been wrong before. What are your thoughts on his contributions to Wake and if he will return?