Darren Collison scrambles for a loose ball against Memphis’ Antonio Anderson during UCLA’s 78-63 loss in the 2008 Final Four. (Eric Gay/AP)
Four-year stars are rare in today’s college basketball landscape, which makes Darren Collison’s career seem like it belongs in a time capsule. The former UCLA point guard was the last Bruin to be taken in the NBA draft after exhausting his college eligibility, going 21st overall in 2009.
Now entering his seventh season as a pro, Collison took some time to talk about his NBA career, the growth of his youth basketball camp, and his thoughts on the state of UCLA men’s basketball.
Q: You’ve spent a lot of your career as a backup and journeyman. What did it mean for your career to sign a three-year contract with the Sacramento Kings and have a chance to be a starter?
It was a big step in my career. We all talk about stability, whether you’re working in the real world or you’re playing sports. I think stability was a part of my success this past season, because you kind of know where you’re going to be, you know who the coach is going to be, you know who your teammates are.
Q: The last time you had started full-time was with the Indiana Pacers. What was the difference in doing so again three years later?
I’m more confident than I was when I was in Indiana. I was still figuring out my way around (back then). I was ready to go (this time). I was ready to show the league that i was more than capable of starting. Not just starting, but being an above-average starter.
Q: You averaged a career-high 16.1 points as well as 5.6 assists before your injury. Do you feel like you proved people wrong?
Without a doubt, but at the same time, I knew my capability. People only came to that conclusion (that I couldn’t) because I’d been coming off the bench for a year and a half. They didn’t really do their research as to why I was coming off the bench. I knew I could start for any team. … I didn’t really care what team. Continue reading