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Shrewsberry adds veteran coach Aki Collins as assistant

Aki Collins

Micah Shrewsberry has added a veteran basketball coach with a lengthy and varied resume to the Penn State coaching staff. The school announced today that David “Aki” Collins will join the Nittany Lions as an assistant coach.

Collins has been an assistant coach at Colorado, Howard, Marshall, Fairfield, Marquette and Memphis, plus he spent five years as an amateur scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season he was director of basketball operations at New Mexico.

Shrewsberry and Collins worked together at Marshall for a couple of seasons beginning in 2003.

“From the time we first worked together at Marshall, Aki is someone who I have watched, studied and learned from,” Shrewsberry said in a Penn State release. “I continued to follow his career and his successful stops at all levels of basketball and those experiences will be very valuable to our program. He fits the culture and values we are working to establish here at Penn State. Aki is a tireless recruiter with connections all over the country, which we’ll utilize to bring in talented student-athletes. I’m excited to add Aki and his family to our Penn State Basketball family!”

Collins is known as an excellent recruiter, which certainly will help at PSU. Shrewsberry previously hired Adam Fisher, also a strong recruiter, as an assistant coach,

“I am truly honored and blessed to receive this opportunity from Coach Shrewsberry,” Collins said in the PSU release. “We have coached each other’s teams from our living rooms and offices. Some of our major career decisions have been hashed out over the phone, at dinner or via text. His character, family values and basketball knowledge, made this an easy decision for me and my family. I am happy for him and honored that he placed his trust in me. I look forward to getting to Happy Valley and getting to work.”

Here’s some good background on Collins, from the Penn State release:

The impact of Collins’ coaching and recruiting expertise during his time at Memphis helped the Tigers to a 31-5 record and a perfect 16-0 mark as Conference USA’s regular-season and tournament champions in 2012-13. The following year, the Tigers defeated five Top 25 teams en route to 24 total victories on the season. For the second-straight year, Memphis picked up a win in the NCAA Tournament.

Collins’ efforts at Marquette under Williams were instrumental to the program’s success both on the court and in recruiting talent. The Golden Eagles recorded four-straight 20-win seasons and made four trips to the NCAA Tournament from 2008-12, including back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The 27 victories in 2011-12 tied the program’s second-highest win total and a 14-4 Big East record gave the Golden Eagles a second-place finish in the league, their highest finish in program history.

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Giger’s take

This is another tremendous hire by Shrewsberry, who now has added two outstanding assistant coaches to his staff.

Both Aki Collins and Adam Fisher bring great experience and success to Penn State, and both are strong recruiters, which is perhaps the most important component here.

I’m going to make an assumption here: It would appear that the Penn State administration has given Shrewsberry a good bit of money to go out and hire assistant coaches, something that has been an issue at PSU in the past.

For Shrewsberry to land two high-caliber basketball men such as Fisher (who came from Miami) and Collins to his staff says a lot, namely that PSU probably isn’t doing this on the cheap.

I’ve heard some figures about Shrewsberry’s salary — that it could be in the $2 million range or a bit more, although unconfirmed — and him bringing on these two assistants tells me that he also has the kind of money it takes to surround himself with outstanding, veteran assistants.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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