Aki Collins Named Tigers Hoops Assistant Coach
May 31, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - David "Aki" Collins, who spent the past four seasons at Marquette, is joining the Memphis men's basketball staff as an assistant coach, head coach Josh Pastner announced Thursday.
"We lost a head coach in Jack Murphy, so I needed to hire another future head coach and found that person in Aki Collins," said Pastner. "Now, we have two future head coaches on our staff in Damon and Aki.
"Aki brings Big East Conference experience to our program, and that will prove valuable as we make the move to the Big East after this season. Aki is a good recruiter and coach and establishes good relationships with players, all qualities that I was looking for in making this hire."
Collins joins the Tigers program after a successful four-year stint on Buzz Williams' staff at Marquette. During Collins' four seasons, the Golden Eagles compiled an impressive 96-45 overall record (.681 winning percentage) and a 46-26 Big East Conference mark.
Collins' four-year tenure in Milwaukee culminated in a 27-8 overall mark and a 14-4 Big East record in 2011-12. The 27 victories are tied for the second-most in Golden Eagles history (one shy of the school-record 28 wins in 1970-71), while the 14 Big East wins were a school record. Marquette recorded its highest league finish (2nd) since joining the Big East prior to the 2005-06 campaign.
Marquette, with Collins on the bench, earned four-straight NCAA Tournament berths, reaching the Sweet Sixteen the past two seasons in 2011 and 2012. The consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances were the program's first since 1977. The Golden Eagles reached the NCAA Tournament second round in 2009 and the "Big Dance's" opening round in 2010.
"I want to thank Coach Pastner for the opportunity to become a part of his staff here at Memphis," said Collins. "Coach Pastner told me how special the relationship is between the city of Memphis and Tigers basketball, and I've already witnessed that since I accepted the position a couple of days ago.
"I also want to thank (Marquette) Coach Buzz Williams and the players there because it's their hard work that allowed me the opportunity to come to Memphis."
In addition to the wins and NCAA Tournament appearances, Marquette thrived with Collins' assistance, and the statistical numbers prove it. The 2011-12 Golden Eagles squad set the school single-season record for assists (580), while also posting top-five marks for points (2,638; 4th), field goals made (919; 5th), free throws made (599; 5th), fewest turnovers per game (13.1; 5th) and steals (304; 2nd).
Collins' Marquette teams also posted single-season marks for points (2,782; 2010-11), field goals made (973; 2010-11), three-point field goals made (274; 2009-10) and fewest turnovers per game (10.4; 2009-10). In fact, all four of Collins' teams rank in the top-five of Marquette history for fewest turnovers per game.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native had a major role in player development at Marquette, helping four Golden Eagles earn All-America honors (Jerel McNeal, 2008-09; Lazar Hayward, 2009-10; Jae Crowder, 2011-12; Darius Johnson-Odom, 2011-12). Six players also received All-Big East Conference distinction in Wesley Matthews, Jimmy Butler, McNeal, Hayward, Crowder and Johnson-Odom, and additionally, Crowder was honored as the 2011-12 Big East Player of the Year. In addition, Collins coached five of the top-11 scorers in Marquette history in McNeal (1st), Hayward (2nd), Dominic James (4th), Matthews (9th) and Johnson-Odom (11th).
Prior to Marquette, Collins had coaching stints at Fairfield (2006-08), Marshall (2003-06), Howard (2000-03) and Colorado (1997-2000). He was an assistant in Colorado when the Buffaloes earned National Invitation Tournament bids in 1999 and 2000.
In his assistant coaching positions, Collins was on the Tigers opponents' bench once in the 2005-06 campaign when the Thundering Herd hosted Memphis on Feb. 11, 2006. The No. 3 nationally-ranked Tigers had to overcome a spirited Marshall effort to post a 91-81 victory in Huntington. The Thundering Herd led by 11 points on two occasions in the first half and held a 44-43 halftime advantage in that contest.
Ironically, Collins just missed facing Memphis two other times. The most recent was the 2009 NCAA Tournament when Marquette could have been the Tigers' West Region Sweet Sixteen foe in Glendale, Ariz. The Golden Eagles, though, fell to Missouri in the second round. The other "almost" meeting came in the 2008-09 season opener when Fairfield came to Memphis. Collins, however, had just moved from Fairfield to Marquette in the summer of 2008.
A 1997 graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Collins began his collegiate career at Morehouse College before transferring to the Atlanta-based institution. He earned his bachelor's degree in Communications.