Senior Moments | 33 Coleman Collins

Power Forward/Center | 6’9″ | 240 lb. | Stone Mountain, GA

When Coleman Collins arrived in Blacksburg in the Fall of 2003 as a just-turned-17 year old, nobody could have predicted what a tumultuous ride his career, and life, would go on. At the end of his sophomore season, it appeared that Coleman had the best chance at an NBA career of anyone on the roster. That was before basketball would take a back seat to life, as Coleman had to endure the illness and death of his father, Jackson, in 2006. Despite that heavy load on a teenager, Collins has battled back and continues to be the key post presence for the Hokies.

Coleman was a diamond in the rough that Ricky Stokes found. As the legend goes, Stokes went to watch Coleman play in a summer tournament. Collins was a force in one of the earlier, less attended games, but got banged up. Later on, several other college coaches were on-hand to watch another prospect and Coleman struggled in that game due to his injuries. This caused other coaches to not offer Coleman. In fact, he did not have any other offers from ‘BCS’ schools.

To say Coleman is still extremely young is an understatement. He graduated with a communications degree in three years from VT… as a 19 year old! In fact, he will not turn 21 until this coming July. All of his fellow seniors are basically two years older than him. Collins overcame his youthfulness and became known as a thorn in the side of Shelden Willams, a NBA lottery pick, the last two seasons. If you were going to rate Coleman’s best five games at VT, probably three of them would involve duke.

It is hard to describe Coleman’s strengths because what used to be some of his best assets have faded. His jumper from 15 to 18 feet is no longer as dependable and he is not as aggressive on the boards as in past years. He has been a consistently good shot blocker in his career, and currently ranks 9th all time in blocks in VT history. Collins also is in the top 30 in career scoring. And to be fair, he has been the Hokies most consistent rebounder over the last three years. He led Tech in this category his sophomore and junior seasons, and is second behind Deron Washington this year. Coleman will finish his career as a nearly 50% shooter from the field.

Coleman’s weakness since last year appears to be intensity. He just has not been able to regain that fire he had his sophomore season. Certainly understandable for a kid who has been through so much off the court. He has shown glimpses of that fire, though, such as his 11 point and 14 rebound performance against maryland this year. Coleman has never had very well developed post moves with his back to the basket, instead relying on a jumper from the free throw line or the wing while facing the hoop, or finishing passes from the guards down low. Coleman has fallen from the team’s second leading scorer last year to fifth this season.

Coleman will leave VT as one of the best representatives of Virginia Tech ever. He graduated in three years, has been on several leadership and advisory committees, and even wrote a column for the Collegiate Times. And he’s only 20 years old, with a bright future ahead of him.

Greatest Game: This was a no-doubter – the 67-65 win over duke on 2/17/05 at the Cassell. This was not only Coleman’s finest game, but also one of the great efforts ever by a VT basketball player. The game also rejuvinated the Hokie fan base. In this game, Coleman had 14 points, an eye-popping 18 rebounds, and five blocks against the #7 team in the nation. He was a one-man wrecking crew in this contest. The game was especially sweet since Tech had lost by 35 at duke earlier in the season in a game in which VT was called for 34 fouls.

A close second is the game at duke his junior season where Coleman had a career-high 25 points and eight rebounds. But the win over duke in 2005 meant so much to this program that it has to outweigh the painful loss at duke.

Favorite Moment: My favorite Coleman moment is actually a bittersweet one, but I guess it is a good example of the ups and downs he has had at VT. It came in the the game at duke in December of 2005. After getting back from the ACC Championship loss in Jacksonville, I sat back and prepared to watch us play duke in basketball. Coleman tipped-in a Dowdell miss with a second left to put the Hokies up 75-74 over #1 duke. I thought we had it won. Then, the officials put some more time on the clock and the rest is history. Dockery hit the 43-foot shot to sink us. I will never forget the image of Coleman interlocking his hands behind his head with his mouth aghast. It has been shown dozens of times on ESPN since then. Like I said, it resembles the joy and pain that has been Coleman’s life the last four years all in a few minutes.



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Other Senior Articles:

Markus Sailes

Chris Tucker

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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