13 Dec 2021 | 16:47 | Basketball
TAMPA, JUNE 29, 2020 – Davis Collins is ready to help a program brimming with potential reach even greater heights now that he’s back with USF men’s basketball.
Bulls Nation recently rejoiced after the star guard officially announced he’s returning for his senior season following a beneficial NBA Draft evaluation process.
David Collins”You always want to finish what you started,” Collins said in a phone interview last week. “I think we’ve got a big year upon us. We’ve got almost the whole team returning. It’s just a great feeling to be a part of this.”
USF certainly welcomes back its leading scorer for the past two seasons with open arms after he considered going pro. Collins put his name in the NBA Draft mix in April but kept his eligibility options open during an educational experience.
“It was just good to be able to get something out of it and see where I stood,” he said. “I got to talk to some different teams, some GMs.”
Collins got compliments on his elite ability to get to the basket and free throw line while speaking to representatives of about a half-dozen NBA organizations. Front-office minds also dished out insight on how Collins can drive up his NBA Draft stock even more during his final run with the Bulls.
David Collins pass”That was important to me, just knowing I can improve in some areas to give me a better shot,” said Collins, whose to-do list includes improving efficiency and dishing out more assists.
Scoring has proven to come natural to USF’s 20th 1,000-point club member who is approaching some more monumental milestones. Collins needs 734 points to become the third player in program history, and first in The American, to reach 2,000.
He also needs to sink just 32 more free throws to pass current leader Charlie Bradley (459) on USF’s career list. Only 10 more made free throws will move Collins to the top of the AAC’s all-time record book.
“I’m expecting a big, big senior year out of him,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “He’s got an opportunity to do some stuff in terms of the history of the league that’s really, really unique.”
Going all out on the other side of the court has Collins 43 steals away from becoming the third Bull in school history with 200.
Don’t count on him keeping a tally of any of it, however.
“I just go out and play, and try to have the best game, and do everything possible. I don’t really pay attention to the records,” he said. “I always believe if you do it right, the records will come.”
Collins does have one personal goal he’s shooting for in 2020-21, and that’s to be declared one league’s top-tier talents.
“I want to make sure I’m all-conference,” the two-time All-AAC pick said. “For my last year, I definitely want to be a first-team guy and really doing whatever helps us win.”
CBI titleCollins has done a solid job of that in the past as a key contributor to Gregory’s program-building project since 2017-18. USF has posted double-digit wins in each of the past three seasons and set a school record with 24 victories during the 2018-19 campaign that saw the tournament MVP lead the Bulls to the CBI title.
“I knew there was big potential here,” Collins said. “Being able to leave it in a good place, that’s gonna be a great feeling.”
Getting a team leader like Collins back definitely boosts the Bulls’ rising stock even more for the 2020-21 season.
Four starters will be joined by 2018-19 AAC Freshman of the Year Alexis Yetna, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Gregory has given encouraging progress reports about the standout forward’s rehabilitation, recently saying the Paris native “looks like a million bucks.”
USF also has plenty of new talent anxious to make an impact.
Iowa State transfer Luke Anderson, a 6-foot-8 sharpshooter from Lakeland, Fla., has been learning Gregory’s system on campus since January and will be a redshirt freshman. USF’s backcourt will be bolstered by a dynamic incoming freshman in four-star combo guard Caleb Murphy (Youngstown, Ohio).
The Bulls will have even more firepower if 6-foot-8 Prince Oduro (Toronto, Ontario) becomes eligible to play this season after transferring from Mississippi State. Collins already built chemistry on the court with Oduro when the two played prep ball together at First Love Christian Academy in Pennsylvania.
“I think we’ve got a great team with a lot of support off the bench for the starters,” Collins said. “I think we’ve got a well-formed team with all the guys we brought in. We have a good structure. It’s really exciting just to think about it.”