The Wolverine

October 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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44 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2020   COMMITMENT PROFILE M ichigan basketball coach Juwan Howard has found his point guard, and it's one of the nation's best. Frankie Col- lins,'s No. 73 senior nationally in the 2021 class, gave Howard his pledge and announced for the Wolverines on Instagram Aug. 19. The Henderson (Nev.) Coro- nado standout joined four-star guard Kobe Bufkin of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian (6-4,'s No. 60 senior na- tionally), three-star power for- ward Will Tschetter of Stewart- ville (Minn.) High (6-8, No. 148) and four-star wing Isaiah Barnes (6-6, No. 112) of Chicago Simeon on the Wolverines' com- mitment list. A 6-1, 175-pound "pure point guard who is a vocal leader," Collins specializes in getting into the lane off the dribble and making plays, national basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi reported. Bossi noted that Col- lins is also a very good defender and, while a "non-shooter," he has contin- ued to work on his jumper. Familiarity played a big part in his decision, Collins said after his pledge. "I played against [Michigan fresh- man] Jace [Howard] a bunch as a kid, and I always see Juwan and take pictures with him and stuff," he said. "After a while he got the Michigan job, and we both felt that God has made us both see each other so many times for a reason. Everything hap- pens for a reason." He loves the Michigan offense and his future place in it, he continued. "I think it will help me show my talent a lot," he said. "I like to make plays for others and plays for myself and I can do that there. I think I'm a great leader and a guy that people like to play with. "I'm a guy who is unselfish and who will get his teammates involved and play hard, I play both ends of the floor and I will try to take over a game and do whatever I have to do to win games." Collins has continued to work on shooting off the dribble and his jump shot overall. He's an elite athlete and gets to the rim with ease, and will consistently throw down eye-open- ing dunks, but his confidence is one of his best assets. Henderson Basic Academy coach Leonard Taylor has watched and coached the greats in the Las Vegas area for over two decades. In Collins, he sees a kid who has the potential to be a great at the next level for one big reason in particular. "Frankie's mentality is his big- gest strength; he just thinks he's bet- ter than you," Taylor said. "He has that [Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard] Damian Lillard-type swag. Frankie plays more physical than other guys at both ends of the floor. "He also plays smart basketball … throws down two-handed dunks like crazy. Frankie is a pit bull defen- sively and is one of the best defensive guards I've seen come out of here." Collins pairs with five-star shooting guard Jaden Hardy, who is also on U-M's wish list in the 2021 class, to provide a le- thal backcourt duo. While Hardy — who is leaning toward the G- League or staying out West if he attends college — is rated higher in the rankings (No. 5 overall per Rivals), Collins is every bit as important to his team. "If you called him and asked who the best player on the team is, he would say himself and wouldn't even mention Jaden Hardy's name," Taylor continued. "Jaden and Frankie together are probably the best guard tandem in the country, or at least one of them. "Frankie is tough as nails and is a hard worker. Bodies don't tell lies, and they show you what kind of work a kid puts in. When you look at him from a year and a half ago until now, it's obvious he's working his butt off. The kid can jump out of the gym." Now he needs to continue to round out his game. He made only 6 of 31 three-point attempts (19.4 percent) from three-point range last year on the AAU circuit and hasn't relied much on the long-range jumper. "He's one of the most explosive point guards in the class of 2021 … he's a driver who sets up teammates, defends well and plays above the rim," Bossi said. "Collins is a high-octane guy who has been a steady performer." He's also a "gamer," Taylor added, the kid who always wants the last shot with the game on the line. Collins wanted to take official visits to Michigan, Auburn, Kan- sas, Vanderbilt and USC in the fall, and possibly some unofficials, but the pandemic changed his plans. It played to U-M's advantage. The floor general is thrilled to have his recruitment over with and is look- ing forward to playing in Ann Arbor. "It feels really good," he said. "There is less stress on me, and my dad doesn't have to stress until it is time for my little brother to come up. Now, I'm just excited and can't wait to play." — Chris Balas ranks Collins — a consensus top-100 recruit — as a four-star talent, and the nation's No. 14 point guard and No. 73 overall player. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Juwan Howard Lands His 2021 Point Guard In Frankie Collins national basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi "He's one of the most explosive point guards in the class of 2021 … he's a driver who sets up teammates, defends well and plays above the rim. Collins is a high-octane guy who has been a steady performer."

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