Ex-Southern guard Collins finding his way at N.C. Wesleyan

Evan Collins earns starting point guard role
Dec. 16, 2012 @ 09:57 PM

There was the strangest dynamic going on the other night inside the gym at Carrboro High School.

We’ll get to that after I tell you about former Southern High School point guard Evan Collins earning the starting ball-handling job at N.C. Wesleyan College, in Rocky Mount.

Collins last season as a Southern senior was one of the best points guards in the PAC-6, averaging around 18 points per game. 

Yet scholarship offers didn’t come pouring in for Collins, so he was planning to try to walk on with the Charlotte 49ers.

Over the summer, though, Collins decided N.C. Wesleyan was where he needed to be.

N.C. Wesleyan coach John Thompson said Collins (5-10, 180) has been a good fit.

“Evan has done well for us thus far,” Thompson said. “He was one of our key recruits, and we are very happy with his progress. He has already played an important role for us, and he has tremendous room for growth.”

Collins didn’t get the full ride he had in mind, since N.C. Wesleyan is a Division-III school that does not give scholarships in athletics.

But the freshman from Durham is still in the game.

***

Carrboro basketball player Marlin Johnson got the last laugh Friday night when his Jaguars hung tough for a 75-70 win over Northwood High School, coached by 1993 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Donald Williams, the North Carolina guard who got his groove on when the Tar Heels won the national championship that year.

“It was the best feeling ever, especially beating him,” Johnson said, referring to Williams, his Amateur Athletic Union basketball coach. “Now I can talk junk to him.”

With less than a minute left in the game, Northwood went into foul mode looking to create opportunities to steal one on the road.

Johnson, a wide receiver on Carrboro’s football team that came up short in the 2-AA state title game earlier this month, was the recipient of one of those hacks, right there by Northwood’s bench.

Williams and Johnson got nose to nose and grinned at each other.

Johnson said Williams wanted the Chargers to foul him, believing he’d choke at the charity stripe.

Sure enough, Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one.

“I just let him know he’s got that football in him,” Williams said. “He’s still rusty from football.” 

“I don’t have (any) football rust,” Johnson said. “He’s just always talking junk.”

Johnson is one of several Carrboro basketball players who were part of the Jaguars’ run at what would have been the school’s first state championship in football.

Carrboro basketball coach John Alcox said Trai Sharp, James Scott, Zay Dunn, Malik Carrington, Alex McVeigh and Gerald Atwater joined his squad after the football season.

Alcox said he felt no extra sense of gratification from beating Williams just because the guy learned some of the finer points of basketball from the great Dean Smith.

“It’s just a basketball game,” Alcox said.

Williams was the AAU coach for several Carrboro basketball players, who mobbed him after the game to talk a little smack.

***

Oh, that rather weird sighting I mentioned:

Well, even though Northwood, in Pittsboro, is coached by a UNC guy, the Chargers had a traveling student section that showed up in Carrboro’s gym cheering like Duke’s Cameron Crazies.

Reach John McCann at 919-419-6601 orjmccann@heraldsun.com.