Darren Collison Interview

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Published: August 21, 2009

Good times. Today I had the opportunity to chat with Hornets rookie Darren Collison over the phone for about fifteen minutes. Click the button below to listen, or you can go ahead and download the mp3 file (15.3MB).

I didn’t spend time transcribing the full interview, but here are some highlights:

Darren Collison

Hornets247: Were you aware that the other rookies rated you so high defensively and what are your thoughts on that?

Collison: No, not really. They usually tell me throughout my workouts to try take care of my defense better. It’s definitely a good compliment, I know that’s what the Hornets are looking for and that’s why they got me, and I definitely take pride in it.

Hornets247: Have you talked much with Byron Scott during the offseason?

Collison: Yeah, I have, I have. The thing he tells me to do every time is just to continue to attack, attack, attack the basket. And, you know, whenever a coach is telling you to attack the basket you’re gonna get a lot of good things out of it.

Hornets247: What do you think your biggest weakness is at the moment?

Collison: Um, at the moment? I’d say everything. I think every part of my game, from defense to offense I think there’s so much you can learn, you can’t just point out one thing and say that’s your strength, you know? It’s like I told the coaches before, there’s not one specific part of my game that’s a weakness; it’s every part of my game, so whenever I get a chance to work on those things I should be straight. It’s not just working on one basic thing.

Hornets247: When you were playing under Ben Howland at UCLA, you guys were known for a slow down offense and lock-down man defense. Do you see similarities with that and the way the Hornets play?

Collison: No, actually I don’t. I think the Hornets are more of an up-tempo team, they like to push it and run as much as they can. With Howland… to win a ballgame we had to take care of every possession. But this is the NBA, it’s way too long to do that kind of thing. You gotta get up and down. You only have 24 seconds on the shot clock, so you gotta make sure you have a good shot every time.

Hornets247: Your last game at UCLA, you guys were eliminated by Villanova in the second round of the tournament. I’ve read criticism about your performance in that game; you had 1 assist and 5 turnovers. How do you respond to criticism like that?

Collison: You know, you’re going to get criticism every day when you go out there on the court. Even the number one draft pick or the best player in the NBA has criticism, so you gotta be able to handle that adversity and you continue to play your game. All the criticism, all the critics, they don’t play the basketball game as long as we have, so you’re definitely used to going down the court and performing.

Hornets247: To stick with criticism for a minute, coming up to the draft, a lot of scouting reports labeled you as a steady point guard, but they felt you’d already come close to maxing out your potential. How true is that? Do you think you have All-Star potential, or how good do you think you can be?

Collison: I think I could be extremely good. It’s about learning, you know, learning from the best. I have the chance to play against an All-Star point guard, so if I apply myself every day in practice and try to go as hard as I can I’m definitely gonna get better as a player.

Hornets247: You got most of the minutes at point guard last season for the Bruins, despite the Jrue Holiday being there, and many people felt he had a disappointing season. Were you surprised then that he got picked ahead of you in the draft?

Collison: Naw, Jrue is a good person and he’s a good friend, so there’s no reason why I should get mad. You know, all that stuff is out of my control – I can’t control who gets drafted ahead of me or before me. I just have to continue doing what I can.

Hornets247: What are your expectations, first of all for yourself this season and secondly for the Hornets as a team?

Collison: My expectation is to make a deep run in the playoffs. You know, they didn’t make a deep run last year, but I definitely feel like they were hurt, and they still have the people that did make a deep run in the playoffs the previous year. So you know, if we can just stay grounded and continue to work in practice and Byron Scott’s a good coach — he knows how to do that — we should be fine.

Hornets247: Aside from yourself, who do you think is like the toughest point guard that came in this year?

Collison: Umm, probably Jonny Flynn. He has a good opportunity to do stuff, you know with a new coach and the position that he’s in, I think he can make some noise.

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