Collison Announces Return To UCLA For Senior Season
By Bruin Basketball Report
Junior Darren Collison has decided to remain at UCLA for his senior season, he announced during a teleconference this afternoon.
The UCLA point-guard averaged 14.5 points and 3.8 assists while shooting 48.1% from the field including 52.5% from beyond the arc in 33 games. Collison also led the team in free-throw shooting at 87.2%.
"Its my chance to do something special in my senior year", Collison said. "It wasn't until this last week that I made the decision to return."
He had considered entering the draft after last season but decided instead to remain at UCLA. At the time, some scouts had projected Collison to be a middle to late first-round draft choice
"I'm in a good financial situation thanks to my parent," Collison said. "It helped make my decision easier."
Collison battled back from an early knee injury in the season this year to be named a third-team All-American as well as second-team All-Pac-10 player. However, Collison struggled mightily during the NCAA postseason tournament and may have hurt his draft stock in the meantime.
"I want to improve my medium range jump shot," Collison said. "Fill all the holes in my game."
Mock drafts had Collison going somewhere in the late first-round, although some felt he might slip further in the draft especially with so many quality underclassmen declaring early.
"I have no doubt Darren would have been a first-round draft choice this season," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "It tears me up thinking about his loyalty to the program and it will be very special with him returning next year."
While UCLA has a stellar freshmen class, with three highly-rated backcourt players in Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Jerime Anderson arriving next season, the team would certainly benefit with the return of experienced players.
"We have a good class coming in and I'm excited about the players who are returning," Collison said.
Howland feels Collison could improve his strength and put additional weight. He thinks Collison could get up to 175 pounds this summer.
"It gives us an All-American at the starting point," Howland said. "We have arguably the best point-guard in the nation next season."
(photo by Bruin Basketball Report)
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