The McDonald's All-American game kicks off the high school all-star circuit, and for the first time ever, we got to watch the game knowing that one of the 24 guys would be headed to Gonzaga. The West roster, comprised of Zach Collins, UCLA-bound Lonzo Ball, and eventual Player-of-the-game winners Frank Jackson (Duke) and Josh Jackson (undecided), beat the East 114-107 in one of the more competitive games in recent memory. Collins stuffed the box score and finished with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals in only 12 minutes of play.
Collins, for his part, looks like a ready-made replacement for Kyle Wiltjer's role in the Gonzaga offense. While he's certainly not at Wiltjer's level right now--nor should we expect him to produce at that level during his freshman campaign--Collins has all the tools to be a deadly inside-out big, and should add to the legacies established by Kelly Olynyk and Kyle Wiltjer in recent years.
For a true 7-footer, Collins displays good athleticism, as he runs the floor well and looks comfortable moving laterally. He's also blessed with a broad wing-span, allowing him to take away passing lanes and easily rebound his area. While he'll need to get stronger and add more weight to successfully battle in the interior at the collegiate level, his frame looks like it could easily add another 20-25 pounds without compromising any facets of his game.
In the McDAAG, Collins made an instant impact after subbing in early in the first half, snagging an offensive rebound for a put-back, and then sinking a 3 on a pick-and-pop on the right wing. Collins' jump shot is smooth, and its easy to imagine the impact he'll make as a stretch-4 next season. While Collins showed both his inside and outside prowess, I was most impressed with his understanding of spacing as he positioned himself in the right places on the floor, indicating a good feel for the game and a high basketball IQ.
In these all-star type settings, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle, especially as a big man. But Zach Collins definitely catches your eye with his developed skill set, and he looks to be a perfect fit for the Zags.