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Get to know ASU Basketball's Shining Star: Frankie Collins

Taylyn Hadley Avatar
December 17, 2023
Frankie Collins (1) of Arizona State University encourages the crowd to cheer during the second half of a game against the University of San Francisco at Desert Financial Arena.

Hailing from Sacramento, California, Frankie Collins, a 6-foot-1 junior, has emerged as the key leader for the revamped Arizona State University men’s basketball team.

A transfer out of the University of Michigan at the start of the 2022 season, Collins is averaging 13.6 points per game, 3.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 33% from behind the arc.

Collins possesses a multifaceted personality and delving into various aspects of his character is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of this emerging star.

On top of his decision to come to ASU and his NBA aspirations, it is necessary to understand his character through his constant voice for the sometimes voiceless who have become affected by transfer restrictions. He is also an advocate for looking deeper into the meaning of NIL deals among college athletes.

In his second year under a dream head coach, a skilled basketball team and with endless opportunities at his fingertips, Collins is ready to take on the 2023 regular season head-on. 

Appreciating his exceptional personality is crucial for anyone looking to become an even more devoted fan of Collins. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

1,000 reasons: Frankie Collins’ decision to choose ASU

A common thread among current NBA players, including Kobe Bufkin of the Atlanta Hawks, Caleb Houstan of the Orlando Magic, and Moussa Diabate of the Clippers, is their shared experience as former teammates with Collins during their time at the University of Michigan.

With future NBA presence all around Collins as a freshman for the Wolverines, Collins learned the ins and outs of what it takes to make it to the next level and succeed at the professional level very early on. 

Collins not only benefited from their basketball skills on the court but also absorbed their mindset and approach to life beyond the basketball arena.

“I think that was one of the best times I had off the court because we were all really close,” Collins said. “We all stayed in the same apartment, we all went places together, stuff like that. So, I think the time there was great.”

On a talented Wolverine team, Collins averaged only 11 minutes per game as a true freshman while producing 2.8 points per game, 1.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds while shooting 45% from inside the arc.

Facing limited playing time in Ann Arbor, Collins made the challenging choice to enter the transfer portal, resulting in an instant and aggressive pursuit by Arizona State. 

Collins, thoroughly impressed, swiftly committed to the Sun Devil squad, appreciating their belief in the young guard’s abilities and potential.

“It had a lot to do with the pressure they put on me in the portal,” Collins said. “As soon as I hit the portal, they were the first to call.” 

Beyond the shared belief in their capacity to enhance the ASU program, Collins was thrilled at the prospect of playing under the esteemed coaching of Bobby Hurley.

Although young, Collins was well adept with the knowledge of Hurley’s historic run at Duke from 1989-1993 that included two AP All-American nods and led to a No. 7 overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft.

“I think it’s (playing for Hurley) everything I expected because he’s competitive and he wants to win,” Collins said. “I mean, he is a loyal coach and a loyal guy, so he rides for his players and he’ll do whatever it takes. Being able to learn from him and hear the things, the way he sees the game.”

In addition to having a top tier head coach, Collins recognized a familiar face on another ASU team, only adding to his desire to move to The Valley.

Collins and Sun Devil wide receiver Elijhah Badger grew up together and played both basketball and football alongside and against each other.

“We used to battle all the time in football,” Collins said with a smile. “Me and him always played in the championship. Probably like three or four years in a row. I mean, they won every time but I always did good though.”

While Badger may have held the advantage in football competitions, it’s evident that Collins secured more victories in one-on-one basketball matchups. As teammates, they frequently stayed over at each other’s houses, emphasizing their close friendship and the proximity of their childhood homes.

After Collins moved from his childhood city of Sacramento to Nevada, their contact dwindled. Fortunately, they reconnected seamlessly, picking up their friendship as if they had never been apart once Collins arrived in Tempe.

“I always go to his games, he comes to my games and we support each other,” Collins said.

With a promising pre-season start to ASU’s 2023-24 season, Badger will undoubtedly be in the stands at Desert Financial Arena cheering on Collins as he leads his team.

Off-court impact

For Collins, leadership extends beyond his on-court performance. Perhaps even more impactful are his actions off the court.

As a vocal advocate for NIL promotions and NCAA transfer rights on his X profile, Collins’ off-court endeavors have been just as crucial in establishing his role as a leader.

Collins’ teammate, Brandon Miller, is currently navigating the eligibility process to participate in the 2023 season. Having transferred twice before obtaining a bachelor’s degree, he faces a mandatory one-season sit-out period imposed by the NCAA.

Having experienced the transfer process himself, Collins has actively voiced support for the endeavors and petitions aimed at securing Miller’s return to the court, despite his double transfer status. 

“I mean there’s always situations. You got family situations, everyone has different situations,” Collins said. “(Transferring) is not something you always want to do. Sometimes it’s the hard thing to do. So, I just feel like if people could look into that and understand the reason why they’re transferring instead of always trying to… people kind of backlash a lot of players for transferring and things like that.”

Collins elucidated that college athletes often arrive at universities with certain expectations, only to encounter a reality that diverges significantly. Promises made by coaches and programs may not align with the actual situation upon arrival.

Offering insightful perspectives, Collins brings up a valid point that those observing from the outside may not consider. Preconceived notions tend to foster the belief that athletes are becoming overly privileged or greedy in their experiences as student-athletes.

Especially ever since NIL deals entered the picture. 

State Bicycle Co., a bike-making company, has been a steadfast supporter of Collins, being the first in line to represent him and providing unwavering assistance every step of the way since his arrival in Tempe.

“They gave me a bike and I just always rode it to school, rode around campus and stuff like that to the games, to practice,” Collins said. “It’s a great bike. Um, I recommend everyone getting one,” Collins added with a laugh. 

A stellar salesman through and through. 

NIL deals serve a broader purpose beyond providing monetary support for college athletes, even though many student-athletes across the nation rely on them in today’s environment. Collins views these deals as an opportunity to express and showcase his personality.

Personality that is important to broadcast in the future endeavors of most college athletes. 

“I’ve been getting a lot more deals but I mean, I think it has a lot to do with just my personality,” Collins said. “Just me being me and people kind of enjoy me in a way. So just being myself and just continuing to use my platform to help out and you know, reach other audiences.”

Collins’ personality and his ability to show it through different NIL deals becomes an asset to his future stock, especially with his lofty aspirations of making it to the NBA.

A draft prospect in maroon and gold 

Earlier this year, Collins announced his intention to test the waters and enter the 2023 NBA Draft pool. Despite undergoing the evaluation process at the next level, he faced the challenging choice of withdrawing his name before the deadline, opting to continue his college career.

“I think the decision for me to come back (was) just me knowing that there was more I can do,” Collins said. “So just be better and just get ready for the next phase after that.”

While Collins was eager and felt ready to advance in his basketball career, he reflects on the experience with a mindset geared toward learning and growth.

Fortunately for ASU fans, he now brings additional knowledge and skills to augment his leadership role as the sole returning starter for ASU this season.

“It’s an experience that I enjoyed. It’s just a lot of work – you just continue to work, work, work,” Collins said. “You don’t hear the end of the bad things you do, so just getting all those feedbacks on being better.” 

Acknowledging the criticisms of his game has afforded Collins the opportunity to hit the gym and address the weaknesses identified, striving to become the best possible player for ASU.

Collins’ objective is to continue excelling as the best leader he can be with aspirations of guiding the 2023 squad deep into the postseason.

“I think ultimate goal is just making sure we can get to that NCAA tournament (and) being one of the top teams in the pack,” Collins said. “I think individually, trying to continue to just be consistent and efficient and continue to lead and just grow in every aspect of my game from now to the end of the season.”

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