Meet Mardy!

With all the drama surrounding the finalities of the Clippers big trade for Zach Randolph, the other guy included in the deal, guard Mardy Collins, has been largely ignored.

Collins was a bit of a throw-in to the deal, but the Clips are happy to have him. He’s a 6-6 guard with a great basketball pedigree though a lot of people just know him as the guy who started the fight with the Denver Nuggets back in December of 2006.

I called up a couple reporters who dealt with Collins back in New York who insisted that Mardy is actually a really good guy, and the brawl was very out of character for him. So far that description has been pretty accurate from what I’ve seen out of Mardy.

He struck me as a real polite, thoughtful guy. His inclusion in the deal takes him away from the East Coast for the first time in his life really. Collins went to Simon Gratz High in Philadelphia, the same high school as Aaron McKie and Rasheed Wallace attended. He also went to Temple, so the comparisons to McKie are pretty much cemented into his biography by now.

He’s generally regarded as a smart basketball player who plays some pretty good defense. He said today that he was excited about playing in the Clippers half-court oriented offense, which is more like the system he excelled in, in college.

“I think I’ve got most of the plays down,” Collins said after the Clippers practiced on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of combinations in them so it’s kind of confusing, but I should be alright.

“There are a lot of plays, but they all make sense and go together. It’s the kind of system I’ve worked in before, with half-court sets, so it definitely helps.

“Once I get out there and don’t have to think about what i’m doing, that’s when I think everything will feel a little better.”

With Ricky Davis doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets with knee pain, don’t be surprised to see Collins see some minutes tommorrow.

“For Mardy it depends on matchups,” assistant coach Kim Hughes said Tuesday when asked how much Collins might play Wednesday. “I think he has the ability to guard Carmelo. … And I kind of like the fact that he got into it with Melo a year ago.”

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