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Daimion Collins says comparisons to Isaiah Jackson are "fair," models game after Kevin Durant

Jack Pilgrim06/19/21

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Article written by:On3 imageJack Pilgrim
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When summer workouts began at the Joe Craft Center to open the month of June, Kentucky freshman Daimion Collins quickly emerged as an early standout, with junior forward Jacob Toppin comparing the Wildcat newcomer to the best player on last year's roster, Isaiah Jackson. "He plays just like Isaiah (Jackson),” Toppin said of Collins. “He’s blocking shots. He’s dunking the ball. He’s going to be a great player for us.” Shortly after, UK assistant coach Jai Lucas - Collins' lead recruiter at Texas before joining the Kentucky coaching staff - praised the five-star forward for his "great natural ability" and added that there are certainly some comparisons between Collins and past Kentucky greats. “He is a ball of athleticism,” said Lucas. “... He is someone who is arms and legs, has great athleticism and great natural ability as a basketball player. "... He’s something that Kentucky has seen in the past. He’ll still be his own because he’s different, but he has shown some similarities to some other people.” Collins, who averaged 35.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 6.2 blocks per game and earned Gatorade Texas Player of the Year honors as a senior at Atlanta High School (TX) this past season, says the Jackson comparisons are valid. "I say it's fair," Collins told the media on Friday. "He was a really good player, defensive-wise and offensive-wise. I think that's a fair comparison." The five-star forward finished as the No. 11 overall prospect in the final 247Sports Rankings for 2021, while Rivals had him ranked No. 15 overall and ESPN listed him at No. 17 overall. Following his standout senior campaign, Collins was named a McDonald’s All-American and selected to the Iverson Classic and Jordan Brand Classic rosters. Despite the impressive accolades, Collins knows there's still work to do with his game, a key reason why he ultimately decided to sign with Kentucky last November. "The biggest thing was the player development with all their players, getting them to where they need to be," Collins said of his decision to become a Wildcat. "... I want to work on getting my shot more consistent, my ball handling tighter so I'm a better player from all aspects of the floor." He draws comparisons to Jackson - among other elite shot-blockers to come through Lexington such as Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel - but the player Collins modeled his game after growing up is none other than NBA superstar Kevin Durant. "I think Kevin Durant, he's my favorite player," said Collins. "I watch him and how he does things, and I try to mimic off of that and try to get my game better." Speaking of Durant, Collins' high school coach Jarrod Boston previously told KSR that he believes the five-star forward is a mixture of KD and Anthony Davis in terms of playing style. Collins himself said John Calipari's main pitch was that he would be using the versatile big man like Davis in Lexington. “Coach Cal tells me he’d use me how he used Anthony Davis,” Collins told KSR back in October. “He said I remind him a lot of Anthony and that I’d be able to do a lot of the things he’s doing now. … I kind of think I play like (Davis and Durant) too. I can shoot the ball, dribble, make plays, stuff like (Durant), but I can also get down low like Anthony, score the ball too. I think I’m a mixture of them too, pretty much.” Jackson, Davis and Durant? Not a bad trio. Patience will be necessary with the 6-foot-10 forward - he did start playing at age 16, after all -  but the potential is undeniable. Let's see how much of it is reached during his time in Lexington. https://youtu.be/BHZAxCBVd3I

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2022-06-30