Michigan Wolverines freshman point guard Frankie Collins has been experiencing a baptism by fire in the early stages of his time in Ann Arbor. Collins joins a team with national title expectations, so there is not much time to slow down for Michigan’s new contributors.
Collins and the Wolverines are a few weeks into practices, which have seen players walk out of practice with bumps and bruises due to the physicality of the sessions.
“If you guys watch our practice, we’re coming out with busted lips and scratches on their arms,” Collins said on Friday at Michigan basketball’s media day. “Everyone is coming out with something wrong, whether it’s walking out with a limp or (something else). Every day, DJ is getting hit somehow. He always comes out for something like that. I had a big busted lip for a week.
“We are so competitive. We’re scrimmaging for 10 minutes and everybody is beat up not wanting to lose. Even when we do shell drills, nobody wants to lose during shell drills. That’s what our identity is. We’re going to be the toughest team in the NCAA.”
Michigan guard Frankie Collins is learning quickly in the early stages of Michigan camp. (Anthony Broome, The Wolverine)
Collins has spent most of his time going up against graduate transfer DeVante’ Jones, but Michigan’s depth at guard means he is getting a lot thrown at him. He is taking the brunt of the beatings in practice.
“Me and DJ have been going at it and battling,” he said. “I get it the worst. I’ll be battling with DJ. And then DJ subs out. Now I’ve got to battle Eli (Brooks), he’s no joke either. Then you still have Zeb (Jackson) and Kobe (Bufkin).
“I get all the battle wounds and scars. I hold my head high and stick my chest out because I’ve been battling.”
Jones’ presence in Ann Arbor has been met with early praise since coming over from Coastal Carolina. Collins is soaking up all the knowledge he can from Jones through the early part of camp.
“DeVante’ is crafty and one of the smartest players I’ve been with or against,” Collins said. “The way he thinks is good and he knows a lot because he’s been playing college basketball for a long time. One thing I just found out is that he has a 6-foot-7 wingspan. I was wondering how he averaged so many rebounds, then in practice, he grabs rebounds with his fingertips over Hunter or Moussa. He’s a smart player and skilled. He has some athleticism, don’t let him fool you. He’s a good overall player.”
Collins is a speedy and athletic guard prospect, but that can change the moment you set foot on a college campus. He feels the game slowing down for him, though.
“When I first got here, things were a little rough,” he said. “There were things I was learning and I didn’t understand until practice and focusing on the small details. Now, it is starting to slow down and become a little easier than when I first got here.”
Michigan’s freshman class ranked third in the country, per Rivals.com’s rankings. The six-game group is coming together and hopes it can create its own program history.
“Coming in as one of the top recruiting classes, and the skillset our class has, is crazy,” Collins said. :I’m not going to say it’s as good as the Fab Five, but we’re there. We’re really close. We’re all in the gym all the time. It’s going to pay off.”
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Head coach Juwan Howard has helped set a tone and establish what it will take for young contributors to get on the floor. Typically it comes from making smart plays and getting after it on the defensive end of the floor. Collins has taken Howard’s “growth mindset” to heart.
“At the end of the day, we all want to be on the floor. I’m going to come into the gym and work as hard as I can to get on the floor and help the team win games. You aren’t going to play if you aren’t working on your game consistently. That’s my mindset. We all come from somewhere where we all have to put in work and continue to put in work to get to where we want to be.”
Howard recruited the players he did not only because of their talent but also the potential for more and the attitude they bring when they set foot on the court. Collins knows that his head coach will pull out all the stops to ensure every player captures their full potential.
“Coach is going to bring it out of us, but we’ve all got it in us,” Collins said. “That’s what he recruited all of us. If we did not have that in us, he would not have recruited us. That’s what you need to get here, even if you have got it in you and you’re not showing it, he is going to pull it out of you.”
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