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Zach Collins’ Strong Start Draws National Attention

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Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports chronicles the hot start to the new season for the second-year big, and the impression he’s making on his team.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

After an impressive, perhaps unexpected rookie campaign last season, Portland Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins is picking right up where he left off to begin his second season. He has played excellent defense, including registering six blocks against the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night, and has also found early success on the offensive end of the court. Those around the organization have taken notice.

CJ McCollum called the 20-year old “fearless”, according to CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave:

“He’s fearless,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum told me about his second-year teammate. “He’s not afraid to get hit in the face and break his nose. A lot of it is heart. A lot of it is timing and understanding basketball, spacing and angles. He’s doing what we expected, just a great rim protector.”

Damian Lillard also chimed in, telling Forgrave:

“He just has a really good understanding for defense and positioning himself,” Damian Lillard told me. “When you have that and timing, you can be the type of rim protector that he is. The timing is natural, how he was just timing people’s shots. But some of those shots [in the Lakers opener] he wouldn’t have been in position to block last year. Just seeing actions and seeing stuff develop and positioning himself to make those plays is the difference between this year and last year.”

Coach Terry Stotts sees great potential in Zach’s offensive game, as well:

“He’ll extend his range and be a more consistent shooter from the perimeter,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “He’ll be able to take advantage of the mismatches in the post. He’ll be able to offensive rebound. He’s got a good sense of passing the ball already.”

The future is looking bright for the Las Vegas native, who will turn 21 next month. He’s averaging eight points and 5.3 rebounds, in addition to 2.7 blocks in just over 20 minutes per contest to begin the season. He looks to continue his stellar start as the team hits the road for a four-game trip beginning Tuesday night in Orlando.

You can read Forgrave’s full article here.