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Bishop Gorman guard Zaon Collins commits to UNLV

Updated August 23, 2020 - 6:04 pm

Bishop Gorman senior point guard Zaon Collins is staying home.

Collins announced his oral commitment to UNLV via Twitter on Sunday to become the highest-rated player to commit to Rebels coach T.J. Otzelberger during his 17 months at the school. The consensus four-star prospect is the No. 5 point guard and No. 39 overall player in the senior class, per 247 Sports, and selected the Rebels over Arizona State, Arizona and Southern California.

Collins’ commitment is nonbinding and won’t be official until he signs a national letter of intent.

Basketball players can sign beginning Nov. 11, at which time college coaches can comment on them publicly.

Collins was not available for comment. But his father, Marvin, said his son always liked the Rebels.

“He really feels like he can make UNLV what it used to be,” said Collins, a lifelong Rebels fan. “He does realize what UNLV used to do. He knows he’s got his hands full … but he’ll take the challenge on. And he just feels more comfortable here in Vegas.”’

Collins grew up in Las Vegas and developed into one of the valley’s best players with his club program, Vegas Elite, before his career at Gorman began. He started collecting Division I offers before he played a high school game, then flourished quickly into one of the country’s top players with the Gaels, whom he’s guided to three consecutive Class 4A state championships.

“I’ve never been around a bigger winner in my life,” Gorman assistant and Vegas Elite assistant director Rich Thornton said. “It’s in his DNA. He’s a stone cold killer.”

The 6-foot-1-inch, 165-pound Collins doesn’t dominate with his measurables but rather his mind and decision-making. He’s a throwback type of point guard who can score when called upon but prefers to set up his teammates.

He’s a maestro with pace and tempo and a tenacious defender, capable of stifling opposing point guards and excelling in team defensive concepts.

He averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals for the Gaels in 2019-20.

“(The point guard has got) to be the coach on the court, and he’s perfect for that,” Thornton said. “I think they’re going to get some talent around him.”

To Thornton’s point, the Rebels are among eight finalists for 6-8 forward Arthur Kaluma, who trained with Vegas Elite this summer and plays at Dream City Christian in Arizona. Kaluma is the No. 36 player in the senior class, per 247 Sports, and an ideal fit on the wing alongside Collins, whom Otzelberger prioritized.

Former Durango point guard Keshon Gilbert is also committed to UNLV. But Collins is the straw that stirs the drink as the program’s highest-rated recruit since 2017.

“He wants to stay here and try and build UNLV back up,” Marvin Collins said. “He doesn’t care if he doesn’t shoot one time, as long as he wins the game.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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