NC State post players are in for a test come Saturday as they must find a way to stop John Collins. The 6-10 power forward is having a great season averaging 16.4 PPG (59% FG) and 8.8 RPG. Danny Manning has done a great job at putting his talented sophomore in spots where he can thrive. How can NC State slow down Collins?
The Pack will need their perimeter players to pressure Wake’s guards from having easy entry passes to Collins. With ball pressure, NC State guards can buy their big men more time to move Collins away from the basket. The added time will also benefit help-side defense resulting in less space for Collins to operate.
The Deacons also love putting Collins in pick and rolls. The power forward is quick, bouncy, and has great hands to catch as well as finish off the alley. NC State cannot be lax on their pick and roll defense. Dennis Smith and company will need to fight through screens to avoid confusion related to switching. Malik Abu, Omer Yurtseven, and BeeJay Anya must not allow Collins unobstructed lanes to the basket if they do they will have a front row seat to the dunk show. Collins off-ball movement allows him to catch alley’s even outside of pick and rolls. The Wolfpack must keep connected to Collins at all times.
John Collins has the ball handling skills to beat most forwards and centers to the rim. He has shown the ability to put the ball on the deck and finish inside. The Pack must be aware that Collins does not have a good outside shot; therefore they cannot bite on shot fakes. Collins fakes are designed to counter attack with the dribble to get inside, as he is not comfortable taking outside shots.
NC State cannot foul Collins outside of the paint by committing cheap reach-in fouls. Malik Abu needs to stay out of foul trouble because he has the tools to make Collins work. Due to Collins limited range, the Pack needs to give him a couple of steps defensively and not reach in on his drives. There is no doubt that Collins is the head of the Deacon’s attack offensively. He has had huge jumps in his production compared to last season.
NC State can slow the super sophomore down by pushing him away from the basket and communicating with one another to his whereabouts as he moves. Implementing a zone from time to time should also slow him down by having plenty of help inside. In the zone NC State will have to communicate even more to keep Collins off the offensive glass.
Again it will need to be a total team effort from all five players to make Collins work each possession. Game time is at 2 PM this Saturday at the PNC Arena, coverage on ACC-Network.