Nobody expects Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Collins to do well more than Zach Collins himself. Consistency in approach, commitment to the growth process, and expectations of excellence were sustained themes in Collins’ recent Q&A interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype. The session traced the 7-footer’s evolution from prep school champion to draft-day darkhorse, and beyond to his currently-presumed breakout season with the Trail Blazers.
The piece spanned multiple questions with sustained answers. Among the highlights...
Collins praises his father as a supportive, but grounded, mentor:
He kind of built that early on – all of my fundamentals and things like that – so he was huge for me. He never really pushed me to play basketball, that was always coming from within me. I always wanted to just push myself, always wanted to work out, always wanted to get to the gym, and he was the guy that just always wanted to be a part of that. And he was always very encouraging. In times where maybe I didn’t think I was good enough or maybe I wasn’t having fun playing the game because I wasn’t playing well, he would just always tell me to stick with it.
From the moment he was drafted, Collins vowed to keep it all about basketball:
...when I first started, it was all about, “I just need to be good on the court first. I can’t worry about this lifestyle. I can’t worry about what I can do with all this money that, all of a sudden, I have in my bank account.” It’s always been about basketball for me. And it still is to this day and I don’t know when that switch is going to flip for me to realize what I can continue to do with all this money and with my platform and everything. But yeah, right now, it’s just about basketball and realizing how much of a professional you have to be.
Portland’s goals are lofty, and set internally:
It’s always about how this is the year and we have the guys in the locker room to compete for a championship. So what they say about us, we don’t really converse about – we’re on our own path. Inside that locker room, we’re all together and we’re going into this season with one goal and that’s to win a championship, regardless of what everybody else is saying.
Other topics include skills development, idols and archetypes, and Portland’s successful run through the 2019 NBA Playoffs. It’ll take all lunchtime to read, but if you’re a Collins or Blazers fan, you can’t miss it.