Photo courtesy JSU Athletics/Charles A. Smith
No. 3 seed Jackson State University has only one path to get to the NCAA Tournament: winning the SWAC Men's Basketball Tournament, which is at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Standing in the way of the Tigers' berth in the Big Dance is Prairie View A&M University Thursday, March 10, at 2:30 p.m. and then on March 11 at 2:30 p.m., Mississippi Valley State University, a team that upset No. 2 seed Alcorn State University. A championship-game showdown against Texas Southern University deep in the tournament could also be in the Tigers' future.
If Jackson State is going to make great strides in postseason play, the team is going to need big games from Paris Collins. Along with Raeford Worsham, Collins is one of the major reasons that the Tigers have a chance to win the tournament.
Collins, a San Antonio native, played high-school basketball for Earl Warren High School. He averaged 15.6 points and seven rebounds as a senior, earning honorable mention All-State and All-District Second Team. He also helped his team to a 5A State Finals semi-final finish.
After high school, Collins went to Des Moines Area Community College to continue his basketball career. He finished second on the team in scoring with 14.2 points and with 6.1 rebounds per game, and the team finished fourth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Championship.
As a freshman, he shot 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point range and 68 percent from the free-throw line. He was the only freshman named NJCAA Region XI All-Region First Team, having accumulated 188 rebounds, 84 assists, 77 steals and 29 blocked shots.
In his first season at Jackson State, Collins has played in 30 games and made 21 starts. He is No. 2 on the team in scoring, averaging 13 points per game and six rebounds per game. Collins is also No. 2 in steals with 57, and No. 11 in three-point field goals with 44 and blocked shots with 21 in SWAC play.
Collins has scored double digits in 18 games this season with a season-high 27 points against Blue Mountain College in the middle of December. He has posted double digits in rebounds five times, including his 15 rebounds against Southern University in early February.
The 6-foot, 4-inch, 172-pound redshirt sophomore guard posted three double-doubles (double digits in points and rebounds) and finished several games nearly making a double-double. Collins' efforts this season earned him recognition on the Second Team All-SWAC Team along with Worsham.
Collins helped Jackson State to a 17-14 overall record and 12-6 in SWAC play, with the Tigers finishing third in the league behind Texas Southern and Alcorn State. Today's game against Prairie View can be heard on 88.5 FM WJSU.
The guard is majoring in psychology and is the son of Sterling and Janie Collins. He has four brothers, Lorenzo, LaRon, Tino and DeMarco, and three sisters, Shanara, Siara and Sherita.