Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Devon Collier could have stayed home to play college ball.
Big East schools St. John’s, Seton Hall and Providence were in the final mix for the 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward from The Bronx who finished his high school career playing for Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony.
But Collier visited Oregon State several times, met with head coach Craig Robinson and decided that was the place for him because it felt like a “second family.”
“We felt that going away would be a good experience for me,” Collier told SNY.tv after shootaround Monday at the Izod Center. “I’m able to mature, get away from everything and it would be a good choice for me just to play in the Pac-12.”
Collier admitted to being homesick somewhat as a freshman when he averaged 7 points and 4.4 rebounds, but now he seems to have really settled in during his sophomore season.
Collier enters Monday night’s Legends Classic championship game against No. 18 Vanderbilt at the Izod Center averaging 16 points and 4.3 rebounds for the undefeated Beavers (4-0).
With some 30 friends and family looking on, he was a major factor in Saturday’s 100-95 overtime win against Texas, putting up 17 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
“He does all the stuff that we need down in the low post,” said Robinson, the former Princeton star. “He gets fouled. He scores in the low post. He’s got a nice feel for the game. He gets rebounds for us.”
Still, Robinson said he’s most pleased with Collier’s performance off the court. At St. Anthony, he sometimes had to sit out because he wasn’t getting his schoolwork done.
“I was less focused,” Collier said. “I wasn’t taking it seriously.”
At Oregon State, Collier proudly brings his graded papers into the coach’s office like a kid who wants his parents to put them up on the refrigerator.
“The thing that I’m excited about him the most is he’s just become s a terrific citizen of Corvallis, a student-athlete at Oregon State,” Robinson said.
Said Collier: “I picked up my grades big because academics is a big part of being able to play basketball and stay focused.
“Coach [Hurley] always told me if you just do good in your schoolwork, everything good will come, so that’s what I’ve been doing from day one.”
Hudson Catholic 2013 wing Reggie Cameron will attend the game tonight after attending Saturday’s game, per Alex Kline.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.