Darren Collison and Coach Frank Vogel Leading This Pacers Rebuild
SLAM Online’s Brendan Bowers with Frank Vogel, Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert discussing the Pacers emergence as an Eastern Conference Contender:
“In 1996, Frank Vogel transferred from Juniata College in Pennsylvania to spend his senior season studying basketball as a student manager at Kentucky under Rick Pitino. About that same time, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, a young point guard named Darren Collison had just embarked on his own lifelong lesson in the same game.
Fifteen years later, they’re learning together. Vogel, as the 37-year-old head coach who Larry Bird hired to lead the Indiana Pacers, and Collison, as his 24-year-old point guard. A coach and a player who will continue to grow together, as they look to rebuild the Pacers back into an Eastern Conference power.
“As soon as I got here to this organization I was introduced to Coach Vogel,” Collison told SLAMonline earlier this week. “He kinda took me under his wing, and he molded me into the player that I am right now. He said some things to me back then that I probably didn’t want to hear when it came to watching film, but it helped me. It helped me gradually improve my defense and my offense.”
That player Collison is right now, beyond his averages of 12 points and 5 assists per game as the starting point guard in his third NBA season, is also a guy his coach says leads his team in categories you can’t quantify.
“Darren probably leads our team in desire,” Vogel told SLAMonline. “He’s got such a pure heart. His effort, his focus, his mental preparation, he watches more film than anybody on our team. Those things all lead into just desire and wanting to win, and wanting to be a great basketball team, and that carries out on to the court.”
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