DC is heading to the Big Apple today for the NBA Draft (tomorrow is the big night). He is done with all of his workouts and he sounds excited and fired up for the next stage of his basketball career. He also sounds defiant and anxious to prove himself (even though he has nothing to prove here on BN after four great years in Westwood). He offered the following perspective to those who are questioning his NBA potential because he didn't take the same (or I guess these days one can say "conventional") route of leaving for the pros early in his college career:
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Collison often worked out against underclassmen who declared early, much like he was expected to do a year ago before a last-minute decision led to a return for his senior season. And the more he worked out and interviewed with teams, the more he heard about questions in his game - like a lack of strength, inconsistent jumper and questionable on-court vision, according to scouts.
"I feel like just because I went to UCLA for four years my stock is dropping," Collison said. "That doesn't make any sense to me. You can't tell me a four-year guy is not going to contribute more than a two-year guy."
Apparently DC has been getting badgered by questions about how he does it feel for him to see his younger backcourt mates such as RW and Jrue Holiday getting more hype and attention from the NBA scouts:
"I asked them, `Am I still playing basketball?"' Collison said. "If I'm still playing the game of basketball, that's what's important to me. I really can't control who is higher. I'm going to have an opportunity to showcase my talent.
"Jrue deserves it. He's going to be an awesome player. Russell deserves it. Their careers have nothing to do with my career. That's what I told them. They wanted to see how I reacted to it."
All three are point guards, but Westbrook and Holiday played the off-guard position while Collison played the point at UCLA.
Collison said he didn't flinch when the subject was broached, but added it will serve as motivation.
"It's definitely more fuel for my fire when the summer league starts and the NBA (season) starts, but I don't have any issues with Russell and Jrue," he said. "Those are my good buddies. Off the court it's one thing, but on the court it's not just those guys. It's (all) guys that are drafted ahead of me that does add fuel and gets me pumped up."
Over the years I think we noted number of times how in some ways DC has been an extension of Coach Howland on the court. We can see the way he conducts himself with class and grace he is applying everthing he learned from Coach Howland off the court. It's going to be some moment when he gets his name called (hopefully) in the first round (fingers crossed) tomorrow night. We will be following via our open thread here on BN.