DraftExpressProfile: Darren Collison, Stats, Comparisons, and Outlook
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Darren Collison
STRENGTHS:
- Decision making
- Executes offensively
- Pick and roll play
- Pure point guard
- Ball-handling skills
- Commitment to playing defense
- Defensive awareness
- Man to man defense
- Basketball IQ
- Likelihood of reaching potential
- Poise
- Strong Intangibles
- Unselfishness
- Winning mentality
- Work ethic
- High-level productivity
- Wingspan
- 3-point shooting percentages
WEAKNESSES:
- Scoring instincts
- Limited upside?
- Potential
- Role-player potential
- Ability to finish around basket
- Explosiveness
- Size for position
- Strength
- Undersized
- Limited number of 3-point attempts
- Perimeter shooting ability
- Perimeter shooting potential
- Slow release
Recent Tweets
All Tweets
DraftExpress: Indiana will acquire Ian Mahinmi (4-years, 16 million) in a sign and trade with Dallas. Darren Collison and Danhtay Jones go to Dallas.
2012-07-11 08:10:10
DraftExpress: RT @tomhaberstroh: Is Kemba Walker undersized? Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Jameer Nelson, Kyle Lowry, and Ty Lawson all shorter, NBA st ...
2011-06-22 09:40:42
Myck Kabongo has a lot of the same problems Darren Collison had early in his career. Struggles to finish at the rim, not a great shooter.
2010-06-29 19:52:12
Top 25s - Full List
RankCategoryTotal
16Ast/g5.7
10Ast/40p8.2
11Ast/408.2
17Ast432
24Ast/Pos0.42
19Ast/FGA0.55
21TO/g2.7
5TO/403.8
4TO/40p3.8
24TO202
Team: Mavericks College Team: Kings
PhysicalsPositionsRankings SalaryMisc
H: 6' 1"
W: 166 lbs
Bday: 08/23/1987
(27 Years Old)
Current: PG
NBA:   PG
Possible: PG
RSCI: 98
Agent: Rade Filipovich
Current Salary:$1,900,000
High School: Etiwanda
Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Drafted:  Pick 21 in 2009 by Hornets
Best Case: Chris Duhon
Worst Case: Mario Chalmers

Predraft Measurements
YearSourceHeight w/o ShoesHeight w/shoesWeightWingspanStanding ReachBody FatNo Step VertMax Vert
2009NBA Draft Combine6' 0.25"6' 1.5"1666' 3"8' 0.5"5.730.533.5

Basic Per Game Statistics - Comprehensive Stats - Statistical Top 25s
YearLeagueNameGPMinPtsFGFGAFG%2Pt2PtA2P%3Pt3PtA3P%FTMFTAFT%OffDefTOTAstsStlsBlksTOsPFs
2014/15NBADarren Collison2234.515.65.312.343.04.49.347.30.93.029.24.25.477.30.53.23.76.21.60.52.31.9

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Situational Statistics: This Year's Point Guard Crop
May 8, 2009
Darren Collison looks like an awesome backup point guard.

Collison ranked third in overall FG% at 50% and his PPP of 1.02 lands him well above average. The second best finisher in our group at 1.26 PPP and very capable shooting off the dribble (.99 PPP), Collison can score in one-on-one situations (1.02 PPP) and utilize the pick and roll (1.14 PPP) to get his shot off. Able to score at a high rate when he puts the ball on the floor, Collison could still stand to improve his catch and shoot ability, but could be a great backup point guard in the NBA since he doesn’t seem to force anything and his offensive tools are conducive to success in most situations. The question now is whether he can translate that to a higher level of competition.
[Read Full Article]
 
Blogging Through the NCAA Tournament (Day Three)
March 21, 2009
UCLA has to come away a little disappointed by the way their backcourt performed. Darren Collison, often criticized for his inability to step up in the big game, didn’t do a great deal to change that label. He finished with 1 assist compared to 5 turnovers, missing 3 free throws on the day (he came in shooting 92% from the line) and being unable to be the difference maker that UCLA needed in the half-court to break down Villanova’s extremely physical and stingy defense. He looked reluctant to step up and take shots when UCLA’s offense bogged down, struggling to finish strong around the basket in two separate transition situations –a problem he’s had throughout his career, and one that is unlikely to go away at the NBA level. There’s a good chance that the bruised tailbone Collison suffered in the first week of March has been holding him back recently, and looking at his senior season as a whole, there is no question that he had an outstanding year. It’s hard not to wonder whether the lesser load he’ll be forced to shoulder offensively in the NBA as a role-playing distributing/shot-making/defensive oriented point guard may benefit him, as he’s been asked to shoulder a bit more of the scoring load this season at UCLA than he looks comfortable handling.
[Read Full Article]
 
College Road Report: Arizona State vs. UCLA & USC
February 17, 2009
Criticized by some for his decision to return to UCLA last spring, despite seemingly having little to prove at the collegiate level, Darren Collison has made some subtle but important improvements that should solidify his status in the minds of scouts as a sure-fire NBA rotation player.

Collison is scoring better and more efficiently this season, particularly inside the arc, where his 2-point percentages have skyrocketed from 46% to 59.5%, which puts him amongst the top point guards in the country in that category. He continues to shoot the ball from beyond the arc at a nice rate--not quite the outrageous 52.5% from last season--but a still very impressive 43%. Collison doesn’t take many bad shots, but it’s definitely worthwhile to note that he’s hitting a superb percentage with his off the dribble attempts, just a hair under 50% on a decent sample size. His release looks slightly quicker this season and the fact that defenders cannot go underneath screens when guarding him bodes well for his ability to translate his perimeter shooting ability to the NBA. The fact that he shoots 93% from the free throw line is a pretty good sign as well.

Forced to handle the ball a bit more than he did last season, Collison’s assists are back up while his assist to turnover ratio is at an all-time high. He doesn’t have the jet-quicks or fancy improvisation skills to be able (or maybe even willing) to be an incredibly creative force slashing to the basket and creating scoring opportunities for himself and others. Collison is a half-court point guard who needs to have strong slasher/scorers around him, as he may struggle to get to the rim quite as effectively at the NBA level. For what teams usually look for in a backup point guard, though, he may be ideal, as he doesn’t turn the ball over, hits his shots at a solid clip, and is perfectly capable of running an offense.

On top of that, Collison is a very strong defender, being very fundamentally sound and extremely pesky getting in the passing lanes. He does a great job staying in front of his man and always put a good effort in, even if his lack of size and strength may hinder him a bit, particularly fighting through screens.

When it’s all said and done, Collison looks likely to carve himself out a niche in the league, similar to the way Chris Duhon and more recently Mario Chalmers has. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his upside, and he might not ever prove to be ideal starting material, but there is obviously a place in the league for a player with his skill-set, basketball IQ, experience and all-around intangibles. If he lands on the right team, in the right system, alongside the right players, he may even thrive.
[Read Full Article]
 
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10 (Part One: #1-5)
September 24, 2008
Even with a stellar recruiting class that includes blue chip point guard Jrue Holiday, UCLA coach Ben Howland has to be thrilled with the return of Darren Collison for his senior year. The California native can lay claim to being the best returning college floor general in the country, and will be all over pre season All-American lists.

The biggest knock against Collison throughout his career has been his size. Generously listed at 6’1” and 165 pounds, he is undersized even by college standards. Early off season reports have said that Collison has added a little weight and gotten stronger, although apparently it isn’t very visibly noticeable. While he will always be criticized for his smaller stature, his speed and smarts make him a constant threat on both ends of the floor. There are few players at the college level who are as poised in the open floor with the basketball as Collison is.

Collison was a very efficient scorer last season, averaging 14.5 points on 48.1% shooting, but as the only returning player to average double figures, he will likely need to step his scoring numbers up this season. His ball-handling skills are outstanding and he has a great understanding of how to break defenders down in isolation situations or using screens. Towards the end of last season he really came on in his mid-range game, able to pull up on a dime or knock down tough runners on taller opponents. Collison was a tremendous threat from beyond the arc, connecting on an absurd 52.5% of his shot attempts from the outside, though the sample size still leaves something to be desired. Despite being one of the most deadly outside shooters around, Collison only attempted 3 shots per game from the perimeter and almost never if he was contested at all.

Certainly Collison’s intangibles need to be considered when discussing him as well. He has shown a real knack for hitting big shots in his time at UCLA, making him a real asset as a backcourt leader. He has a strong skill set for a point guard, and reports are saying over the summer he has improved his ability to anticipate where teammates will be on the floor. He is an absolute nuisance as a one-on-one defender, using his speed and quick hands to emerge as a steals leader in the Pac-10.

Despite his physical stature, which will always give pro scouts pause, there are quite a few reasons to be high on Collison. Everything about his game, particularly the fact that he does everything against top notch competition, says that he could be on his way to a solid NBA career if he gets the necessary time to develop. He appears to be a solid first round prospect, although there are still some question marks regarding whether he projects as a backup or as a starter.
[Read Full Article]
 
Blogging through Championship Week (Part Five)
March 18, 2008
As we predicted a few days ago, Collison indeed ended up being named the MVP of the Pac-10 tournament, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind after his 28 point, 3 assist, 0 turnover performance in the final against Stanford.

Collison is making a case for himself to be considered the most complete point guard in the NCAA if you take what happens on both ends of the floor into consideration. He was incredibly under control setting the tempo of the game as always, but always showed the confidence to go out and make things happen on his own when needed. He did a phenomenal job reading and using screens on the pick and roll all game long, changing speeds and directions with excellent quickness and footwork, and did a terrific job avoiding defenders and finishing spectacularly with his left hand, time after time.

Collison’s ball-handling skills are outstanding, splitting the double-team/traps Stanford tried to use defending UCLA’s ball-screens, and showing a masterful ability to compensate for his lack of height by pulling up off the dribble from mid-range or utilizing a pretty floater when things looked too crowded inside. He knew when to get his team out in transition and when to slow down and run their half-court sets, and hasn’t seemed to take a bad shot all season almost. He’s shooting a ridiculous 51% from 3-point range on the season (on 3 attempts per game), never attempting a shot from this range unless he’s truly open. He’s so unselfish that at times you wonder if he might be hurting his team a bit by not taking some of the opportunities he’s presented with.

There were some question marks that emerged during the season about who UCLA will turn to in critical moments when they need a basket at the end of shot clocks, and Collison is most certainly answering them. He wasn’t just a matter of one game or tournament, but it’s something he’s been doing repeatedly over the past month or so.

The big concern some scouts have about him, besides his size, is just how much weight he can put on. He seems to be really affected by the various bumps and screens he has to get through over the course of the game, and this problem could really be exasperated in the NBA, where everyone is so much bigger and stronger. With that said, it’s hard not to start thinking that he brings enough to the table to be considered a starting caliber point guard in the NBA, with some seasoning. Considering how good he is, and how incredibly well he’s playing leading arguably the best team in America into the NCAA tournament, he may not be the kind of guy you want to overanalyze too much.
[Read Full Article]
 
NCAA Weekly Performers, 02/08/2008 -- Part Two
February 8, 2008
When evaluating the reasons behind the success of clearly one of the top teams in the country, UCLA, it would probably be wise to start with the play of their point guard Darren Collison.

One of the steadiest floor generals you’ll find in the NCAA, Collison is a calm, poised and extremely unselfish half-court point guard who fits like a glove seemingly in UCLA’s slow, balanced attack. He executes Ben Howland’s offense to a T, never looking rushed and not concerned in the least bit with his own numbers, fully committed seemingly to the success of his team. He keeps all of his teammates happy with the unselfish manner in which he moves the ball around, always getting the ball to the right man and rarely making any mistakes.

Despite starting off the year slowly because of a bum knee, Collison’s numbers are up almost across the board once again this season. His scoring numbers have improved, his shooting percentage from the field is up slightly, he’s getting to the free throw line at a better rate, his turnovers are down, and his assist to turnover ratio is up from 1.95/1 to 2.16/1. His assists are actually down by a fairly large rate (from 7.1 per-40 minutes pace adjusted to 4.9), which has a lot to do with the fact that he is playing significant minutes next to an additional ball-handler in Russell Westbrook, whereas last year he was almost UCLA’s lone facilitator (next to Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp).

Collison’s physical tools are not ideal for an NBA point guard. He’s small, very skinny, and not particularly explosive around the rim. His quickness looked pretty average early on in the year, but has looked better as the season moved on as he gets into better shape following his knee problems.

Offensively, Collison picks his spots and finds ways to put the ball in the net, despite not being the most naturally skilled point guard you’ll find .He’s an excellent ball-handler with either hand (although he prefers to go left), and has a nice crossover move he likes to go to in order to create space for himself to shoot a floater or pull-up off the dribble from mid-range. He needs some time to get his shot off, though, but with the great deal of attention all his teammates draw, combined with the extremely high basketball IQ Collison possesses, he’s finding ways to get his shot off, more than last year. Collison also gets a fair share of production in transition, where he makes excellent decisions, and is particularly effective utilizing the pick and roll. One clear weaknesses we can evaluate lies in his struggles finishing around the basket, as his lack of strength and explosive hinders him, and makes him more likely to pull-up from mid-range or attempt a floater instead. This will probably become more noticeable in the NBA.

As a perimeter shooter, Collison continues to knock down shots at an excellent rate for the second straight year, despite his awkward shooting mechanics, slinging the ball at the basket from over his head. He has a high, consistent release point, though, and doesn’t take many bad shots, which has helped him again shoot the ball at over 40% from behind the arc. He’s mostly a spot-up shooter with his feet set because of the time he needs to get his shot off, but is hitting more shots off the dribble (just like with his mid-range game) than he did last season.

Defensively, Collison is very effective, as you would expect considering that he plays for one of the top defensive teams in the nation. He is a pesky, physical defender, who gets right in his man’s grill and denies space extremely well, and also possesses good lateral quickness and a very good wingspan. He puts the effort in, but is also very intelligent in the way he approaches his work on this end of the floor, showing excellent timing and awareness in terms of contesting shots and bothering his opponents, both in man to man and team defense. His lack of size and strength is a bit of a hindrance for the next level, though, and it’s not hard to see how much he’s effected by good solid screens, which he really struggles to fight through.

Collison continues to establish himself as one of the top floor generals in the country at the collegiate level, and looks like someone who will have a successful career in the NBA, even though he projects as a role player. The jury is still out regarding whether he’ll be considered starting material or more of a Chris Duhon-type backup, but there is surely a lot to like here anyway you slice it.
[Read Full Article]
 
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10 (Part One: #1-#5)
September 18, 2007
Poised to emerge as one of the best point guards in college basketball next season, Darren Collison brings a very well-rounded skill-set and a true floor general’s mentality to the table for UCLA, where he did a great job stepping into a starting role last season. Collison plays bigger than his size, as he stands only 6’1 while weighing a mere 165 pounds, but makes up for it with his length and toughness.

Collison boasts a good inside-out game offensively, having an explosive first step and great craftiness, allowing him to get past his defender nearly at will. He does a good job changing directions once in the lane, being able to weave through defenders with his low-to-the-ground handle, and is excellent at changing speeds to get past his man, using his explosiveness especially well in that regard. When he takes the ball to the basket, Collison finishes well for his size, showing good touch around the basket. He has struggled at times when trying to go head on into bigger, more athletic defenders, though, something that could pose a problem at the next level, as he’ll almost always have to go around defenders in the lane to score, not being able to finish over them.

Collison also possesses a very effective outside jumper, even though he has an awkward overhead motion. When given the time to get his feet underneath him and the space to get off his shot, Collison is deadly from behind the three-point arc, though he struggles a bit when pressured, not showing the same consistency. Collison is actually a better shooter from behind the three-point arc than from mid-range, mostly because he often isn’t able to get the space he needs on his pull-up jumper inside the arc, which isn’t something he consistently converts. There are some question marks about the way his awkward shooting mechanics will translate to the further extended range of the NBA 3-point line, and whether bigger, longer and more athletic defenders will give him trouble in terms of getting his shot off.

In terms of running his team’s offense, Collison does an excellent job managing the pace of the game and balances creating his own offense and offense for his teammates well. Collison really has the total package with his distribution abilities, reading pick-and-roll situations very well, dishing off to teammates on drives in the lane, pushing the ball in transition, and just moving the ball around in the half-court to find open teammates on the perimeter. Collison might be at his best playing the pick-and-roll, as he can get enough space to drain his outside shot, read the defense to make the assist to an open teammate, or use his explosiveness to blow by his defenders, being able to consistently beat the defense each way.

Defensively, Collison really excels at the college level, playing good fundamental man-to-man defense on the perimeter, showing good anticipation in the passing lanes, playing good pressure defense when needed, and having good lateral quickness as well. He does tend to struggle at times with ball screens, not quite having the strength to get around them. Collison may not be as effective at the next level due to his size (already questionable at 6-0 to 6-1), but should be at least an above average defender because of his fundamentals and basketball IQ.

Collison could very likely enter the NBA draft following this season, being on pace to graduate from UCLA as a Junior, and should be right in lottery talks if he picks up where he left off from last season, which all indications are he will. He still has plenty of room to improve, especially if he can tweak his jump shot to be a little bit better pulling up and when contested. It wouldn’t be impossible for him to be a starting point guard at the next level, but he’s no sure thing either. Regardless, with his all-around game, pure point guard mentality, and willingness to give his all on both ends of the court, he should at the very least be a more than capable back-up point guard.
[Read Full Article]
 
adidas Nations Basketball Experience Notebook (Day One+Two)
August 5, 2007
Love's future teammate Darren Collison also had a really nice showing as well, as he's in excellent shape and apparently ready to make a case for himself to be considered the top point guard in college basketball next year. He was extremely patient running his team's set offense, doing a great job reading the defense playing the pick and roll, showing outstanding ball-handling skills, changing gears on the fly wonderfully, getting to the basket, and often finishing with a pretty floater. From evaluating many different tournaments and camps in this setting (summer league, the pre-draft camp, all-star games) where the players are assembled on the fly and have very little time to build up any chemistry—you can automatically tell the pure point guards from the make-shift ones. Collison falls in that first camp.

Collison has terrific quickness, and combined with his deadly crossover and wide arsenal of hesitation moves, he's an extremely difficult player to stay in front of. He also plays very strong defense as you would expect from a Ben Howland player. The one negative to come out of here revolved around his outside shot. Even though he shot an excellent percentage from behind the arc last year, he clearly needs a good amount of time to set his feet, aim, and get off his very awkward looking shot. This allows players defending him to go underneath screens on the pick and roll, and Collison isn't able to punish them consistently enough for doing so at this point. We watched a long workout of his consisting predominantly of shooting drills, and Collison is clearly working hard on improving his shot. He'll got hot at times and knock down a couple of 3-pointers in a row, but he doesn't have much margin for error due to the way he flings the ball violently at the basket from above his head. He has a fairly consistent release point, but when he misses, he often misses badly. This limits his NBA potential to a certain extent, but there is still plenty of other things to like about him and from what we could tell here he's clearly willing to put the work in to improve on that part of his game too.
[Read Full Article]
 
NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Final Four)-Stock Down/Neutral
April 1, 2007
Collison had an up and down game in UCLA’s loss to Florida in the Final Four. The lightning quick point guard struggled to put the ball in the basket, but was able to make up for it by setting up his teammates very well throughout the game.

Usually very tough to cover offensively because of his great first step and shooting ability, Collison was unable to find his range on his jumper, shooting just 3-14 from the field. Credit does go to Florida though as the Gators made sure to contest any and all shots that Collison attempted, especially when he got near the paint. In particular Collison struggled from beyond the arc, hitting just 1-6 attempts, after shooting well over 40% during the regular season. Several of these shots though came in the waning seconds of an already decided game, though.

Despite the poor shooting effort, Collison showed his true point guard abilities, distributing the ball very effectively to teammates. He relied on his great first step to beat his defender into the lane, drawing additional defenders, and dishing to open teammates. Collison has shown a great knack all season long for knowing when to take the shots he gets inside and when to pass off to open players. Florida was quick to get out and contest Collison, and he was more than happy to get his teammates easy baskets.

Defensively, Collison played a typical solid game, playing tough on the ball. Florida tried running him off a lot of screens, but Collison was too quick to get bumped off his man for long. He deflected a couple of passes as well, relying on his great instincts for the ball.

This game won’t help or hurt Collison in the long run. What he lacked in scoring, he made up for with his ability to get the ball to open teammates and with a typical solid defensive performance.
[Read Full Article]
 
NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (Sweet 16, Thursday games)--Down/Neutral
March 23, 2007
UCLA put together another efficient game in knocking off Pittsburgh to advance to a second straight Elite Eight. A big part of the Bruins’ success was thanks to their most efficient player, Darren Collison.

Offensively, Collison did what he does best: rely on his quickness to get his points. The speedy point guard knocked down two beautiful pull up jumpers from mid-range during the first half in helping UCLA to an early lead. He has one of the best pull up shots in the nation thanks to his solid shooting from the field, and his ability to stop on a dime whenever he pleases. This created real problems for Pittsburgh defenders who were never sure to play tight and take away the jump shot, or play off of him to take away the drive. Despite his threat as a scorer, Collison only attempted 6 field goals, deferring most of the scoring duties to the wealth of talent surrounding him.

Collison, as has been the case all season, was at his best when he wasn’t shooting the basketball. He was very smart in using his screens to get free from defenders, and had no problem getting into the lane when he wanted to. In the lane is where he is at his most dangerous because of his ability to draw defenders and kick to open teammates. If not for a few missed jumpers, his assist total would have been higher. Collison was also fantastic in the transition game, executing some very nice bounce passes to streaking teammates. Again though, not all of these plays were converted into points, something that will not show up in the box score.

Defensively, Collison was at his best, providing full court ball pressure that disrupted the Panther’s offense. He is one of the top on ball defenders in the country, and he showed why, often forcing Pittsburgh’s perimeter players well beyond the three point line when they had the ball. Collison does a great job staying in front of his man, and his relentless pressure forced several turnovers tonight, in addition to the steal he had.

This wasn’t an off the charts performance for Collison, but just another efficient outing from UCLA’s most steady weapon. With so much upside it’s not impossible to think that Collison would enter the draft this year, but the sophomore is still yet to make any firm statements on that issue, beyond the fact that he is on pace to graduate following his junior year. If Collison steps up his scoring a little more next year, and continues to play tough defense and distribute the ball well, he could very well hear his name called in the 2008 lottery.
[Read Full Article]
 
NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Saturday)--Down/Neutral
March 18, 2007
Darren Collison didn’t play as well against Indiana as he did in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. He did provide enough key plays for UCLA to hang on for a win, and a trip to the Sweet 16, which is all that really matters at the end of the day.

Despite Ben Howland’s preference for grinding it out in the half-court, Collison is usually better suited in up and down transition games, where he can pick the tempo that UCLA plays at. He tried to push the ball up the court early, with mixed results, but was unable to get his team away from the slow down style that Indiana likes to play at. In the opening round, Collison displayed an impressive ability to create for his teammates in the half court, but he seemed comfortable letting his teammates work out of the post and on isolation plays against Indiana. He did mix in some of his own scoring, hitting a couple of layups and jumpers coming off pick and roll plays.

Late in the game, Collison really stepped up, scoring a layup coming off a high screen, and grabbing a steal from an Indiana player after Aaron Afflalo made free throws to give UCLA a two point lead. He then stepped up to the free throw line, and knocked down the ensuing shots to put the game out of reach.

For UCLA to reach their full potential, Collison will have to do a better job imposing his will on the game in terms of dictating tempo and creating for teammates off the dribble than he did tonight, but his scoring is right where it should be at this point. His point guard skills and defense will be key things for UCLA to make a run at a national championship.
[Read Full Article]
 
NBA Draft Stock Watch: Conference Tournament Week (Part Two)
March 13, 2007
Arron Afflalo may be the dominant All-American on UCLA, but Darren Collison is the most valuable player for the Bruins. The lightning quick, talented sophomore point guard has been making UCLA’s offense run from day one of the season. Combining his excellent athletic ability with his good basketball IQ, Collison has grown into an All-American caliber player in only his second season out West. He was held in check for the first half against a Cal team that was playing some of its best basketball, only to explode in the second half and bring UCLA all the way back to force overtime.

For Collison, it all begins with his terrific first step. He is extremely hard to cover in one-on-one situations, and add in that UCLA is constantly setting screens for him when he has the ball and he is nearly impossible to stop from getting into the lane. Inside, Collison has shown a remarkable ability to finish against much bigger players despite being just 6-1 and a reed-like 165 pounds. He does a great job at not only maneuvering his body around defenders while in the air, but also puts great spin on the ball as he lays it up. He picks up a good percentage of his assists in the paint as well, recognizing when to dish to open teammates who are left open when he draws defenders.

Collison is very dangerous in transition, using his great court vision to hit teammates in stride for easy baskets, and pulling up off the dribble for jump shots. Despite his unorthodox mechanics, he can stop on a dime and knock down threes from NBA range and has a knack for doing it at big times, as he showed against Cal. Collison actually shoots better from the outside (45% from three) than he does from mid-range. He has a tendency to double clutch when he pulls up around the foul line, and this often throws his shot off slightly. He makes up for it with his fantastic ability to finish when driving to the basket and that has allowed him to shoot 48% on the season, a very high number for a wing player.

What is really exciting about Collison is how smart of a basketball player he is. UCLA runs plenty of screens for him when he has the basketball, and he is one of the best players in the country at using them to his advantage. Rather than simply trying to beat his man around the screen, something he can do most of the time, he will often reverse direction on his defender. This not only loses his defender, but forces his screener’s defender to pick him up. Collison is thus usually left with a one-on-one situation with a slower post player who he can take to the basket, or he has freed his teammate up for a cut to the basket. This is one of the reasons Collison finished second in the Pac-10 with 6 assists per game, as he is an extremely intelligent point guard.

Collison is perhaps at his best on the defensive side of the basketball, where he averages a Pac-10 best 2.3 steals per game. In addition to his fantastic speed and acceleration, he anticipates passes very well. He is fast enough to turn a routine pass into two points at the other end of the floor in a manner of seconds. Collison is very hard to beat off the dribble and almost impossible to screen completely. Even on plays where a screener is able to get a body of him, he is quick enough to usually recover in time to prevent his man an uncontested look or an open lane to the basket. Rebounding is his only real weakness defensively, where again with his small frame, he often resides on the perimeter looking to pick off long rebounds and spring the other way.

Should he choose to return for his junior year, Collison will not only be on many preseason All-American lists, he will also be projected in the fairly high in the NBA draft. He poses the necessary skills to be an undersized point guard at the next level: speed, great shooting ability, and most importantly, a very high basketball IQ. Collison has the potential to be a real playmaker at the professional level, and will make a fast break oriented team very happy one day. He would almost certainly be a first round pick this year and possibly go top-20 or higher if all goes well in the NCAA tournament, but is on track to graduate following his junior year and therefore could decide to stick around for another season.
[Read Full Article]
 
DX Indvividual Awards: Pac-10
March 7, 2007
Draft Prospect of the Year: Darren Collison, 6’1, PG, Sophomore, UCLA

Collison’s unexpected emergence as an All-America candidate has already been discussed above. His scintillating play has also resulted in a bump for his draft stock. Collison is a bit small at the next level, but his physicality, intensity and pure speed make him a likely first rounder whenever he wants to declare.

[Read Full Article]
 
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