2017 combo guard re-emerges for USF

Russ Wood, Hoops Guru
Running the Bulls
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When RTB last interviewed First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pa.) combo guard David Collins he was fresh off of a solid performance at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando in July. Former South Florida head coach Orlando Antigua watched Collins in Orlando and extended a scholarship offer at the end of the month.

In one month’s time, Collins had a USF offer in hand and an in-home visit scheduled with Antigua where, it was expected, an official visit to Tampa would be scheduled. Then several things changed.

Quietly, Antigua and his staff were pulled off of the recruiting trail bringing off campus recruiting to a halt. In early November when it appeared Collins may have been leaning towards becoming a Bull he verbally committed to his hometown school, Youngstown State. He subsequently had second thoughts and reopened his recruitment.

The season began and, well, Bulls fans know the rest. Antigua, who was very interested in Collins, was fired in early January. Once that happened Collins saw his recruitment by USF slow down tremendously.

“Coach Strickland was talking to my coach a lot, but I think they knew that they probably weren’t going to stay there. So it was kind of pointless,” Collins said.

On March 14, Brian Gregory was hired as head coach at USF and contacted Collins as soon as he could. That led to an in-school visit on Wednesday where Gregory assured the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder that the Bulls still wanted him by extending a scholarship.

“They had reached out before but they couldn’t come see me when I was playing in Florida so this (school visit) was his chance to come see me,” said Collins. “We had an open gym and he liked what he saw. He just told me they had some spots to fill and they need some players to come and play right away. He feels I can be one of those guys.”

First Love Christian Academy participated in the SLAM National Post-Grad Championship March 17-19 at Montverde Academy. Between a family commitment and Michigan State’s first round NCAA Tournament game, Gregory was unable to see Collins play at Montverde Academy.

Other coaches are also liking what they see when they watch Collins. Drexel offered the same day USF did and Duquesne offered the day before. Collins said that Cincinnati, Drexel, Duquesne, USF and Washington State are the schools that are in contact with him the most.

“Everything got crazy real quick with all of the transfers and coaches switching jobs,” Collins said. “So I’m just waiting it out. Probably in like two weeks I’ll start narrowing it down and get my visits set up."

According to First Love Christian Academy head coach Khayree Wilson, Collins averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the season.

“He’s a good player but an outstanding person,” said Wilson. “He works really hard on and off the court. Whoever gets him is adding an absolute competitor to their roster. It has been a pleasure to coach him.”

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