Former University of Miami basketball star Dwayne Collins dream finally came into fruition as he sat alone in his University Village apartment on campus in Coral Gables last Thursday night.
He waited patiently for five hours while watching the entire 2010 NBA Draft on ESPN. Then with the final pick in the draft, the Phoenix Suns organization selected Collins with the 60th pick.
“I’m so excited, this is a great situation for me,” Collins said. “I’m ready to start and workout right now. I feel like this is a great spot for me. They are known for developing [forwards and centers] and it will be great to play with an athlete like Steve Nash.”
The last selection in the draft is known as Mr. Irrelevant, but Collins was anything but irrelevant after his name flashed across television screens across the world.
“Everyone was so happy for me,” Collins said. “I got around 80 texts all at once, my phone was blowing up. I kept getting so many more texts my phone actually froze. It was funny. I had to take the battery out and restart it.”
Seventh year UM basketball head coach Frank Haith was elated for his former star forward.
“I’m really happy for Dwayne and his family,” Haith said in a statement. “I have had many conversations with the management at Phoenix, and I think it’s a team he could make and contribute to.”
Collins was highly regarded out of Miami Senior High and chose to attend the University of Miami, a school he grew up a big fan of.
Last year, Collins thought about forgoing his senior season and declare early for the NBA Draft, but he just wanted to get a feel for what scouts and teams were looking for.
“[Going to college at Miami] made me more mature,” Collins said reflecting on his UM tenure. “Coach Haith is like a father figure to me. He is the one who really developed me into a basketball player.”
He is glad he made the decision to return because this past year he averaged 12.0 points per game and 7.8 rebounds. Collins shot 60.4 percent from the field, the second highest single season field goal percentage in UM history.
“Everyone knows I like to dunk, that’s why my percentage is so high,” Collins said. “I love to run and up tempo basketball is a strength of mine.”
Collins sees a lot of parallels with five time NBA All-Star and Suns power forward Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire is a free agent and spent his first seven seasons with the Suns. He may not be on the Suns in 2010-11 but Collins is still admires the veteran power forward.
“I saw how they trained and worked with Stoudemire when he was taken [out of high school],” Collins said. “They really developed him. He wasn’t that great of an offensive player and now he is a star down low.”
This was the second time in as many years the University of Miami had a player selected in the NBA Draft. Last year Jack McClinton was selected by the San Antonio Spurts 51st overall but was later cut. McClinton last year played overseas in Turkey.
Collins feels that the Hurricanes are gaining positive exposure.
“People should be noticing Miami basketball is picking up. We will be legit next year. The ACC in my opinion is the best basketball conference in the country.”
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.