Coleman Collins may be delayed coming to Fort Wayne.
Moments after being told he had been selected by the Mad Ants as the No. 6 pick in the first round of the NBA D-League draft, Collins, while driving about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., hit a deer.
“I’d say it was more of it hit me,” he said in a telephone interview. “The deer sprinted from the right side of the highway and hit my front right headlight, and I’ve got a flat.”
The 22-year-old 6-foot-9 power forward who played four years at Virginia Tech said he is fine, but that his car was “a little messed up.”
Collins is due to arrive in Fort Wayne next Friday to begin workouts with the Mad Ants, who will begin their second season in the D-League.
“He’s a skilled big man, has good range on his jump shot, a good pick-and-pop guy from 15 feet, a great rebounder,” said Fort Wayne coach Jaren Jackson, who recalls Collins from when Jackson was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Georgetown.
Collins averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in his senior year at Virginia Tech, which was the 2006-07 season. As a junior, he averaged 14.5 points and was named all-ACC honorable mention, and as a sophomore, he averaged 11.4 points and 7.0 rebounds.
Collins played last season with a team in Germany, where he averaged 10.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. He returned to the United States to play with the Toronto Raptors in the Las Vegas summer league, and was an early release from the Phoenix Suns camp.
“I hear the fan support is great. You kind of expect that in Indiana,” Collins said. “When the roster is so fluid and a town can still support a team like that, it shows that it’s a good opportunity.”
Although Jackson praised Collins’ rebounding ability, Collins said he was “definitely an offensive threat.”
“I’m a guy who’s a smart player,” Collins said. “I’m a good defender. I like to get out and run the floor and finish above the rim. I can hit open shots and I’m a pretty good passer.”
In the second round the Ants picked up Toree Morris, a 26-year-old 6-11 center who played in college at Pittsburgh, and chose 26-year-old Shawn Hawkins, a 6-6 shooting guard from Long Beach State who was a member of the CBA Pittsburgh Xplosion and who played last year in South Korea. He is also the grandson of NBA star Connie Hawkins.
The Ants got some local flavor with their sixth-round pick when they drafted Jerod Adler, the 6-9 forward who attended Adams Central and went to Indiana State and played in Switzerland.
The Ants’ first game is Nov. 28 against expansion Erie at Memorial Coliseum.