Standing 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and boasting incredible athleticism and defensive instincts, Kentucky basketball signee Daimion Collins has drawn comparisons to numerous former Wildcat standouts, namely Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel and Isaiah Jackson.
Just this week, UK forward Jacob Toppin told reporters that Collins has been an early standout in open runs at the Joe Craft Center, specifically comparing the five-star freshman to Jackson.
“Daimion (Collins). He plays just like Isaiah (Jackson),” said Toppin. “He’s blocking shots. He’s dunking the ball. He’s going to be a great player for us.”
Collins, who averaged 35.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 6.2 blocks per game as a senior this past season, was named Gatorade Texas Player of the Year on Friday. He was also named a McDonald’s All-American and selected to the Iverson Classic and Jordan Brand Classic rosters, along with earning Naismith Third Team All-American and Max Preps Texas Player of the Year honors.
Starting competitive basketball at 16 years old and staying away from lifting and serious diet plans for healthy weight gain, Collins is certainly not a polished product. He’s still raw on the offensive end and boasts a rail-thin frame. But in terms of pure potential, it’s hard to find someone with a higher ceiling in college basketball going into the 2021-22 season.
That’s why UK assistant coach Jai Lucas placed Collins at the top of his priority list when he left Texas for Kentucky last offseason, going out of his way to steal away one of his longtime targets with the Longhorns and bring him to Lexington.
“He is a ball of athleticism,” Lucas said Thursday. “He’s not very big, so hopefully we can put some weight on him before the season starts and stuff like that. He is someone who is arms and legs, has great athleticism and great natural ability as a basketball player.”
For Lucas, he’s not shying away from some of the big-time comparisons that have been thrown Collins’ way, but added that the Atlanta, TX native is going to be special in his own unique way.
“He’s something that Kentucky has seen in the past,” said Lucas. “He’ll still be his own because he’s different, but he has shown some similarities to some other people.”
Collins finished as the No. 11 overall prospect in the final 247Sports Rankings for 2021, while Rivals has him ranked No. 15 overall and ESPN lists him at No. 17 overall.
“I’m really excited for Daimion and his family to join our program,” UK head coach John Calipari said of Collins. “Daimion is an incredible young man with a bright future – someone who has only begun to realize just how good he can be. Our fans know I don’t like to make comparisons to our other guys, but Daimion has that type of length, the athleticism and the versatility that have separated our players from others.
“He wanted to be pushed and to be in a competitive environment to help him reach his full potential. The staff and I cannot wait to help him grow.”