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Mardy Collins NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
March 21, 2006
Strengths
A legit 6-6 point guard. Mardy Collins has great size for the position, and unlike many converted wing to point prospects, really plays like one too. He is not a spectacular athlete, but is highly fluid in his movements, has extremely quick feet and outstanding instincts.

Collins is a highly unselfish player that controls tempo and plays the game with tremendous poise and patience. He’s a coach’s dream since he always plays within himself, never forces things and rarely makes unforced errors. Being smart and fundamentally sound, he seems to have a great understanding of the game; knowing when to look for his shot and when to get his teammates involved.

He has very good playmaking skills, running his team's halfcourt offense to perfection and executing extremely well. His court vision is excellent, utilizing his height to see the entire floor and being able to make passes that most shorter point guards just can’t, particularly into the post. His passing skills aren’t particularly flashy, as he’s more of your fundamental bounce pass-type who just gets the job done effectively. Typically strict Hall of Fame coach John Chaney appears to trust him with eyes closed.

Collins is an excellent ball-handler as well, dribbling the ball low to the ground with an array of hesitation moves and great confidence. Despite having just an above average first step, he is able to create his shot with ease at the college level thanks to all the many tricks he has in his arsenal, by using his head more than he does his feet. His ability to change gears and keep his man on his heels thanks to his assortment of head and body fakes helps him out greatly in this area. He has a strong crossover that he likes to use to get defenders off balance and either slash to the hoop, possibly using a spin-move, or pull up for the jump shot from mid-range, especially right around the free throw line. Once he gets to the rim he finishes creatively, utilizing his strength and toughness as well as his craftiness to usually score with a layup off the glass, and being just as effective after taking contact.

Collins loves to post up his man right on the edge of the paint or starting at the free throw line. His strength, footwork and overall intelligence help him out greatly here, being able to either find the open man if the double team comes, pull up for a turnaround jumper, or make his way all to the way to the basket.

Even though his perimeter shot is not particularly effective, it isn’t because of flawed mechanics or anything of that nature. Collins gets nice elevation on his jump shot, has a pretty high, albeit slow, release and looks smooth delivering his jumper. He is more effective from mid-range at the moment than he is from long-range, but considering his mechanics and his excellent work-ethic, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him become an acceptable shooter from behind the arc in the NBA down the road. Right now he is forced to take too many tough, contested perimeter shots at the end of the shot-clock because of Temple’s archaic style of offense, something that obviously hurts his shooting percentages. Being the type of player who doesn’t seem to give a damn about his stats, this doesn’t appear to really bother Collins since that’s just what his coach asks him to do.

Another attractive part of his game is his defensive ability. Collins plays at the top of John Chaney’s trademark matchup zone, and has established himself as one of the top ball-hawks in the country over the past four years. He has superb hands and outstanding anticipation skills, and his excellent footwork, wingspan and lateral movement do the rest. He gets his hands on a huge amount of deflections every game, coming up with steals, blocks and igniting the fast break for his team and often finishing it himself. He's also a solid rebounder for his position, averaging just under 5 per game on the year.

Collins is a very experienced basketball player, starting in every game for Temple since he stepped on campus. He keeps himself in fantastic shape, playing the full 40 minutes for his team more often then not, even as a Sophomore, but especially as a Junior and Senior, usually looking as if he isn't breaking a sweat.

Collins’ intangibles are outstanding, possessing fine leadership skills and an excellent demeanor on the floor. He’s an intelligent player both on and off the court who does exactly what’s asked of him by his coaches.

Weaknesses
The worst thing you could say about Mardy Collins is that he’s a likely role player. His upside is not off the charts, and he will never be the type of player who can consistently lead an NBA team in scoring.

Part of the reason for that is that he’s a good athlete, but not a freak. He makes the most of what he has, but he’s not incredibly quick, nor explosive.

A major knock on Collins is his very average perimeter shooting ability. He’s only averaging about 31% from behind the arc on the year, on about 4.5 attempts per game. As indicated already, part of this has to do with his team’s style of play and Collins’ role on the floor, which forces him to shoot 3-pointers way more than he should be and in extremely difficult situations too. The fact that his release is not extremely quick does not do him many favors here, as in the last few seconds before the shot-clock expires defenders will crowd him excessively knowing that he’s the one who will likely take the shot.

Collins' free throw shooting is shockingly poor, at a paltry 59.6%.

Some of the biggest questions about Collins’ pro potential often revolved around the fact that he plays for possibly the worst system in college basketball for putting up numbers and displaying NBA caliber skills. It’s difficult to project how a player will perform in an NBA system when his college team plays a style that couldn’t possibly be any different from how NBA teams play.

John Chaney’s Temple team has always been known as a grind it out team that plays an extremely active matchup zone that forces its rivals to wear down the entire shot-clock and then grind it out defensively just as much on the other end of the floor as well. Temple is consistently the team that averages the fewest amount of turnovers in Division 1 basketball (under 8 per game this season) and the paltry amount of offensive possessions his team accumulates, exaggerated ball-movement and lack of one on one shot-creating opportunities is the main reason for that.

His team hasn’t won too many games over the past few years, never making the NCAA tournament and getting knocked out of the first round of the NIT this season after Collins went down with a serious looking injury in overtime against Hofstra. To his credit it must be mentioned that most of his teammates (but not all) are not the type of players who would usually be recruited by an Atlantic-10 conference team. Coach Chaney’s stark demeanor, harsh discipline and incredibly unattractive system means that most (but not all) talented players in the Philadelphia area decide to commit elsewhere.

Competition
Collins plays in the Atlantic-10, a conference that has seen better days since the departure of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West when St. Joe’s was one of the top 5 teams in the country. Temple only went 8-8 in-conference, and 17-15 overall.

They actually played a very strong out of conference schedule though, beating teams like Miami (19 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 turnover), Alabama, South Carolina and Maryland and losing to Rutgers, Auburn, Villanova and Duke (26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers).

On the year, Collins averaged 16.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 turnovers, shooting 43% from the field and 30.7% from behind the arc.


Outlook
The senior Collins has likely established himself as a lock for the 1st round with the way he's played this year, along with his potential as a unique NBA player and the lack of depth at the point guard position in this draft class.

He's not the type of player that is expected to attend the Orlando pre-draft camp, so most of the fluctuation in his stock now that the season is over will come from his private workouts. It might be difficult for him to shine here considering that a lot of the focus here is on testing athletic ability and perimeter shooting skills. Collins might have a tough time showing off his point guard and leadership skills, so NBA teams will likely take that into consideration.

Comments
"He's a smooth player," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Collins, comparing the 6-foot-6 guard to former Knicks star Walt Frazier. Collins is one of the better players we've played against in the last couple years. We put good pressure on the ball and thought we might be able to wear him out. He didn't get worn out. He was just there all the time. He's a really, really good player - and I've seen good players... He's going to be a hell of a player for a long time."

He's a bona fide point guard," said Temple Coach John Chaney of Collins. "His name is never mentioned, but he's tough as they come. And he wasn't a point guard when I got him, so I've done a hell of a job with him.

... His timing of what to do and when to do it is getting better and better. Whether he scores or not, that's not what I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about a guy who takes the challenge and that's what he does. He's a great leader. He's turning out to be something special for us."

"He's my kind of a point guard," Chaney said. "He doesn't throw the ball away, and he can also put everyone in their own room -- he's patient enough to get his shot last as long as he can orchestrate for the other guys."

He outclassed and outplayed him, there's no question about it." -- Temple coach John Chaney, on point guard Mardy Collins (25 points, seven steals), who clearly outperformed Wake Forest star Chris Paul (nine points, eight assists) in a 67-64 Wake win on Dec. 13.

Xavier coach Sean Miller: "the guy who has the ball, in my opinion, is as good as any player in college basketball, Mardy Collins."


 


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