After spending the previous eight years with the Utah Jazz, last night was certainly a different experience for Jarron Collins. Collins, who is fighting for a roster spot with the Portland Trail Blazers, had spent his entire NBA career with the Jazz prior to this summer. Although he had already played against his former teammates last week in Utah, it was still a strange moment taking the court against some of his good friends.
"It was a little weird," Collins admitted after the game. "Just because I know all of those guys really well. I went into many wars and battles with those guys, metaphorically speaking of course. It was good to see them during pregame, but during the game they played well."
Against his former teammates, Collins displayed the energy and the toughness that has been the staple of his career. Like any professional athlete, Collins believes he can continue to improve and play better.
"I think I can do so much more," Collins said of his performance. "I just have to go out there and keep competing. I think everybody feels that way, that they could have done something a little harder or something a little better. I'm no different then anybody else. I look at a game and say, 'I could have done this or I could have done that'. That's the way I feel right now, especially after a tough loss."
Although Collins is still competing for one of the final roster spots with Portland, he insists that his approach throughout the entire preseason has been on how to make this team better for the season.
"Just go out there and compete," Collins said about the preseason finale on Thursday. "Do the same things that I am capable of doing. Just go out there and competing, and playing hard, and throwing my body all over the place. More importantly, it's not about me. It's about the team, and how the team does. We have got to turn it around a little bit. We have done some good things and done some things well in stretches, but we just got to put it together for 48 minutes."
Having coached Collins for the past eight seasons, Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan had nothing but positive things to say about him both on and off the court.
"Jarron is a wonderful guy. We had for him a long time and he was a very coachable guy and tried to do everything he could to help the team. He is a team player and he is a tremendous person."