View Full Version : A different side of Sherron Collins

03-28-2008, 07:33 AM

Ready to roll

Fatherhood inspires Jayhawks’ Collins

http://media.lawrence.com/img/croppedphotos/2008/03/28/ku_nova_practice_ncaa_nk03_t640.jpg?a6ea3ebd4438a44b86d2e9c39ecf7613005fe067 (http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2008/mar/28/143462/) Photo by Nick Krug (http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/nick_krug/). Enlarge photo. (http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2008/mar/28/143462/)
Kansas University guards Sherron Collins, left, and Russell Robinson suit up for practice in the team locker room. The Jayhawks held a short public workout at Ford Field in Detroit on the eve of today’s Sweet 16 matchup with Villanova.

Detroit — Sherron Collins looked like a guy who’d just hit a game-winning shot with no time left on the clock.
He was flashing what his uncle, Walt, calls a “movie star smile” Thursday in the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field locker room, beaming with pride not over his accomplishments, but those of a close loved one.
“My son walked for the first time today,’’’ Collins, Kansas University’s 5-foot-11 sophomore guard from Chicago, said of Sherr’mari, who will turn 1 on April 6 — the day before the NCAA championship game.
“I wasn’t there, but it was good to hear he took his first steps. I talked to him earlier. He knows my voice. He calls me, ‘Da da.’ He puts a smile on my face. He makes me forget about things.”
Like injuries.
Collins, who says his bruised left knee is not 100 percent but feeling “fine” heading into today’s 8:40 p.m. Sweet 16 contest against Villanova, regularly cell-phones his girlfriend, Re’Quiya Aguirre, back in Chicago. She’ll put the phone up to Sherr’mari’s ear … and suddenly Sherron, who has had a long list of injuries since last spring (tendinitis in left knee, stress fracture left foot, bruised right knee, bruised left knee and assorted ankle sprains) feels much better.
“Sometimes I can see him sitting there watching TV with his head down saying to himself, ‘Man, if I was healthy … ’ because when he’s healthy he’s another dimension,’’’ said Brady Morningstar, Collins’ Jayhawker Towers roommate and KU teammate.
“Sherron gets upset because it seems like it never stops. He’s been injured the whole time he’s been here.”
Yet if he’s too upset ...
“If he’s down at all, his girlfriend will put ’Mari on the phone, and a big smile comes on his face. He (Sherron) will say, ‘Mari, Mari!’ and ’Mari will make some voice kids make. He (Sherron) starts smiling. He loves his child so much.”
Good to see ya
About once a month, Collins gets to see his girlfriend and child in person. The two either fly or make the eight-hour drive from Chicago to Lawrence and stay in the Collins/Morningstar apartment.
It has made buddy Brady very close to Sherr’mari, as well.
“They call me his uncle,” Morningstar said proudly, pulling out his cell phone and showing a Journal-World reporter a picture of Sherr’mari on the screen.
“I’ll always be in a room playing with the kid. I think I like ’Mari as much as Sherron.”
Former KU player Roger Morningstar and his wife, Linda, love to invite the Collins clan to their home when Re’Quiya and Sherr’mari are in town.
“Brady brightens up around Sherron’s son. It’s a side of Brady I’d not seen,” Lawrence businessman Roger Morningstar said. “Brady makes faces and plays with him. (Before the baby was born) I’d always tell Sherron, ‘You know, Roger is a good first name for a boy.
“I call him ‘Little Rog’ as a joke. Sherron talks about him all the time,” Roger added in a serious tone. “I went in his room the other day. He’d bought some little baby shoes for him and can’t wait to give them to him.”
Unfortunately it won’t be this weekend.
“They can’t come, but they’ll be in San Antonio if we make the Final Four,” Sherron said.
Brothers forever
The Brady Morningstar/Collins friendship — they call it a “brotherhood” — is one the two insist will last a lifetime.
It started the in June of 2006, when Collins showed up in Lawrence for the start of summer school.
“Coach (Bill Self) said, ‘This is Sherron,’ and we clicked right away,” said Brady Morningstar, who immediately shot baskets with Collins in Horejsi Center. “We’ve been roommates ever since. I mean, I wouldn’t even call him a best friend. He’s my brother. I grew up with two sisters. He’s a brother to me. We have a bond not many people have.”
Collins said he’ll forever be grateful Morningstar came into his life.
“Me being from Chicago, when I first got to Lawrence it was, ‘Oh my God, culture shock,’” Collins said. “I am from the inner-city. A lot of people around there do a lot of different things. That all stopped. I thank Brady a lot. I got so comfortable with him I forgot about being homesick. I didn’t have to go home all the time,” added Collins, who also has an older blood brother with whom he’s close.
Roger Morningstar sees the fun-loving side of both when he has the boys over for dinner.
“They love Linda. They always are getting something to eat. … They do a lot of cutting up. What they do is pick on me. They jump my butt about everything. They don’t believe there was basketball in the ’74, ’75 era,” Roger joked of his years playing for Ted Owens at KU. “I tell ’em we were as good as them. They don’t believe me.”
Family matters
On a serious note, Roger and Linda have been willing to boost Sherron’s spirits when he’s down.
And that’s not often, despite the injuries.
“He doesn’t have a dad or mom in Kansas. We take as much a role as we can,” Roger said of his relationship with Sherron, who is quite close to his mom, Stacey, and uncle Walt, as well as some other relatives. Collins’ dad, who at one time was incarcerated, lives in Minnesota.
“We have to walk a tight line between being parent and booster,” Roger Morningstar said. “It’s legal (by NCAA rules) to have them over for dinner and talk. So we’ve had them over a lot.”
And during chats by the fireplace ... “We tell him, ‘Keep your head up. Whether you are 75 percent or 80 percent, you have the ability to contribute to the team.’ He is such a fun-loving kid. He doesn’t mope at all,” Roger Morningstar said.
Walt Harris is amazed at his nephew’s resiliency.
“He understands factors of life. When he broke his foot (missing six games early this season) he was down about it, but you can’t keep him down. He has strong determination. He has ‘dog’ in him. He doesn’t quit. He’s like a lion, king of the jungle,” Harris said.
Funny thing is, all this is new to Sherron. He never was injured in high school.
That’s while playing wide receiver in football (he received some college offers from Big Ten schools) and both pitching and patrolling shorstop and center field in baseball. Collins, legend has it, has over a 90 mph fastball.
“I broke my wrist playing football,” Collins said of pee-wee ball. “Other than that, I never got hurt until I got to college.”
Ready to play
Harris has talked to his nephew this week. He believes he’s ready for tonight’s game against Villanova and hopefully another game Sunday and two more at the Final Four.
“I think he’s the X-factor,” Harris said. “He’s very excited. He knows they have a chance to make the Final Four.”
As far as another run next year, Collins says he’s not thinking about the NBA right now. Those close to the program expect Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur to turn pro, but there’s still a chance Collins and Mario Chalmers will return next season.
“I think he’ll sit back at the end of the year, talk to his coaches and evaluate,” Harris said. “This year or next year … he’ll take his time in making a decision. I’d like to see him come back, get back to the Final Four again for Kansas. I think he’ll take time to evaluate.”
That’s all weeks down the road.
Tonight is a major test against Villanova and guard Scottie Reynolds, whom Collins met at the 2006 McDonald’s All-America game. They have remained friends and text-message on a regular basis.
“He’s good. They are good,” Collins said of the Wildcats. “We know it’s going to be a tough game. They’re not a regular 12 seed. They are much better than that. We’ll play as hard as we can and see what happens.”
If all goes according to plan today and Sunday, he’ll have something important to talk to his son about one of these days: his first Final Four.

Mr. Plow
03-28-2008, 09:21 AM
It sounds like he's got his head on straight. Must be tough being that far away from your son.

Between him & Chalmers, they are the guys to get the ball to in a crunch. They can hit the outside shot and drive the lane.