Freedom graduate Zachary Collins has commit to attend and play basketball for Wheeling Jesuit University beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year. (photo © Aaron Wyche)
South Riding, VA (July 12, 2016) – Freedom’s Zachary Collins has commit to attend and play basketball for Wheeling Jesuit University beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“I felt really good after I made my final decision and commit to Wheeling Jesuit, said Collins. After committing, I felt like a 5000 pound weight had just been lifted off of my shoulders.”
“The recruiting experience was very mind boggling at times. I went through a roller-coaster of emotions during the process. The most stressful parts were waiting for offers to come along, not knowing where I will end up, hoping that the schools I liked most chose me, and most importantly, hoping that the coaches that were recruiting me were being honest and forthcoming about their expectations. It was also tough to loose out on scholarship considerations due to coaching changes or changing of recruitment strategies”
Wheeling Jesuit University is a private institution located along the Ohio River, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains town of Wheeling, West Virginia. It was founded in 1954, has an undergraduate enrollment of 1187, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 65 acres. WJU encourages all students to become actively involved in research in their desired fields. In many fields, seniors are required to complete a thesis or capstone project. In addition, students are actively encouraged to participate in the annual Student Research and Scholarship Symposium, in which students present research done over the past academic year. The university seeks to deliver nationally recognized academic, athletic and service programs in an environment that encourages personal reflection, commitment to faith, and dedication to public service. Wheeling Jesuit’s ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges Regional Colleges South is #11.
“I was looking for a strong academic school, said Collins. I wanted a university that offered my preferred majors-computer science and engineering, and one that had a high student-athlete graduation rate. I also wanted a school that had a winning tradition. I feel fortunate because WJU met all of my requirements. They have a 100% student-athlete graduation rate for all students who have completed four years there. They also have a strong technology school, and their basketball program was ranked #1 in the nation for D2 schools. All those things were music to both of my parents ears, and made WJU the right fit for me.”
Collin’s head basketball coach will be Danny Sancomb. Heading into his 10th season at the helm, Danny Sancomb has his alma mater on an upward men’s basketball trend in the NCAA Division II and Atlantic Region ranks. The Cardinals just closed their best season under Sancomb with a 28-4 record, and for the first time in university history, WJU earned the NABC’s #1 ranking in the nation and finished #6 in the final NABC regular season poll. Sancomb’s Cardinals then upset rival and then-#1 West Liberty, 106-83, in front of a 3300-plus capacity crowd at WJU’s McDonough Center. With the breakthrough season, Sancomb picked up his own hardware with being named both the NABC Atlantic Region and Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year.
“As a freshman, I expect to continue to work hard, contribute right away and earn some consistent playing time by seasons end. I have been working extremely hard since the high school season came to an end, and have put on a few pounds of muscle in anticipation of a longer college season vs. high school”
Collins, the 2016 first team All-State and All-Loudoun Basketball team selection grew up around basketball. His father used to play in various leagues around the DC Metro area, and he often accompanied him to the court. Zach’s first taste of organized basketball happened when he was in the second grade, and he has played ever since. When asked about some of his fondest basketball memories that took place over that tenure, Collins replied, “Some of my fondest memories of playing basketball is without a doubt the Freedom vs. John Champe rivalry basketball games. The reason is that many of us all started, grew as athletes, and competed in the Mercer Basketball Program, and we were teammates before we become opponents.”
“I am thankful for my family for all they have done to support my basketball career, shared Zach. They have always been my biggest support system. My mother, Celeste Collins has been my biggest fan, and at times my worst critic. She has loved me unconditionally with whatever I chose to do. There were a whole lot of bumps and bruises acquired along my path, and 24/7 she has been my doctor, nurse, religious advisor, mentor and role model. I am forever so thankful for my mom and amazed by the unwithering support she has given to me throughout my life.”
“Next, I have the world’s best dad in Gary ‘Clutch’ Collins. I am especially thankful to him for sharing his vast knowledge of basketball and always taking me to the gym whether it was 6am in the morning or 12am at midnight. He has been my guide through life and has prepared me how to be a young man, handle adversity, and turn a bad experience into a learning moment. His tireless effort to make not just me better, but also all of my friends has been a blessing. My parents have been wonderful during this journey, as they have taken me all over the country to play the game I love.”
“However, I would be remiss if I did not mention my sister Arnelle and little brother Zyan. Just as I was chasing her for greatness, he now chases me. They have both pushed me to be a better person. I have been fortunate to have a huge support system. I would also like to say a special thank you to all of my former trainers and coaches for all their advice, training, coaching and life lessons they have taught me over the years.”
Asked what advice he’d give others pursuing their dream, Collins shared, “Never let anyone out-work you. There will always be someone better at something than you, but there should never be another who works harder than you. Always push through no matter how tired you get or how banged up you are because when you’re not working, someone else is going to earn that scholarship. Always believe in yourself and learn how to be your own advocate. Always be proactive and never rely solely on others to get your name out there in the recruiting world.”
Please join us in wishing Zachary the very best in his success on the basketball court and in the classroom as he pursues a degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Wheeling Jesuit University.