Collins to continue playing days at UAPB
BRYANT – Bryant Hornets baseball player Zion Collins will be continuing his athletic career for the University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff Golden Lions after signing at Bryant
High School Wednesday. Collins said he chose
UAPB, a Division I school, after considering Prairie View A&M, University of Arkansas - Monticello, Mississippi Valley State and Delta State.
“It started at the beginning of the summer,” Collins said of the recruitment process. “I started playing for a new summer team, Maximum Impact. As the summer progressed they eventually offered me and it kind of became my home. I feel like I just grew to it. I went on a lot of other visits and I just couldn’t find no other school that felt like UAPB.”
Collins went into detail of why the Golden Lions were the team for him.
“Just the coaching staff,” he said. “As soon as I got there they just welcomed me with open arms. I got to meet the players and work with them on the field and see how they did prac
tices. It just seemed like a big, friendly environment. Everybody loved each other. They worked hard, had fun, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
“Zion is a guy that has earned everything he’s gotten,” Bryant Head Coach Travis Queck said. “He’s busted his hump and worked extremely hard day in and day out on the ball field to put himself in this situation of playing at the next level. I do believe his better days are ahead of him.”
Moving to Bryant from Monticello, Collins knew he wanted to play at the next level his freshman year to compete against the best competition in the nation.
“I actually came to Bryant because Coach (Kirk) Bock was still the head coach and I saw they had one of the best baseball programs in the country,” Collins said. “Me and my dad sat down one day and he said, ‘If you can compete with these boys, you can compete with anybody in the country.’”
Playing mostly middle infield throughout his career, Collins is very open to a move to third base to suit his strengths.
“Zion is going to figure somewhere in the infield,” Queck said. “Offensively he’s come a long way in a short period of time and that’s the dedication between he and his dad, and his determination to fix some flaws that he had.
“Defensively, he did exactly what we needed him to do last year. We could see him moving to third base a little bit. I hope he can take over short for us. If not, I know he can definitely do third and we would not skip a beat.”
But it’s on the mound where Collins may give the Hornets the most success.
“I think on the mound is where he’s going to really, really light up,” Queck said. “He has a sneaky heavy fastball. He has a chance to add some velo(city) and the breaking ball, this spring, he pitched off his breaking ball and there wasn’t a better breaking ball in the league. It allowed him and opened up a lot of doors, especially how to attack hitters.”
“I’m very aggressive on the mound,” Collins added. “I want to get strike one, strike two, I hate getting behind in counts. Teams like Conway and Cabot, you really have to use your baseball knowledge against teams like that. You can’t just go up there and throw 0-1 fastballs down the middle.”
Collins said he plans to major in business at UAPB.
“I’m going to study business management,” he said. “My dad actually owns a trucking company and I kind of want to follow in behind him and start doing some things like that. My mom’s a realtor, so they’re already in management positions and I like and understand what they do.”
As for the upcoming season, Collins has high expectations.
“I’m excited for my senior year,” he said. “I want Bryant to go undefeated. Congrats to the football team (10-0), They’re doing an amazing job and I want baseball to pick up right where they’re leaving off and every other sport behind us.”
Bryant senior Zion Collins, center, signs to play baseball at the University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff Wednesday at Bryant High School on Wednesday.