By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO August 9, 2005 Nick Collison of the Seattle Supersonics, who was a standout player at the University of Kansas, recently staged a well-received basketball clinic at Kutshers Sports Academy.
The 6-foot-9 power forward gave dozens of young campers lessons in shooting, rebounding, ball handling, dribbling and other skills. He also signed autographs and answered questions for the young hoopsters.
Before making it to the National Basketball Association, Collison was one of the most prolific college basketball players in the nation. After four years at Kansas, he ranked second on the schools all-time scoring list with 2,097 points. Kansas, which has a long and proud basketball tradition, is the alma mater of past and present NBA greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Pierce, Danny Manning, Walt Wesley and Jo Jo White.
While at KU, Collison led the Jayhawks to NCAA Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003. During his college career, his teammates included current NBA players Drew Gooden and Kirk Heinrich.
After being named a first team All-American for senior season of 2002-2003, Collison was selected 12th overall in that June 2003 NBA Draft.
Collison said that college basketball was more fun, because he enjoyed the friendships with his teammates. He added that he was happy that he stayed at KU for all four years and earned a degree that he can use outside basketball.
Collison added that staying for his senior season allowed him to improve his play enough to be selected in the first round of the draft.
He noted that he would have been a teacher if not an athlete.
He said that the toughest NBA crowd is at the Arco Arena, which is the home of the Sacramento Kings.
Collison that Shaquille ONeal is the toughest player to guard against although he rarely did so.
You can push as hard you can against him, and he is not going anywhere, Collison said of the 7-foot-1, 300-plus pound ONeal.
Collison said he believes that Tim Duncan is the most valuable player in the league, because a team must gear their entire defense around him.
Collison also noted that he has a great deal of respect for last years league MVP, Steve Nash, who has greatly improved the Phoenix Suns.