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BYU basketball: Collinsworth not ruling out leaving early

First Published Jul 30 2014 04:19PM      Last Updated Jul 30 2014 04:19 pm

Kyle Collinsworth walked into the sports information offices at BYU on Monday for a sit-down interview and he looked much different than he did back in February and early March when he led the Cougars on that 10-2 run that got them into the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, Collinsworth’s upper body is more chiseled than before — "but I’m not going to get muscle-bound," he says — but what really stands out is his hair. That short-cropped, bushy look is gone, replaced by a more standard-looking cut with a part on the side. He looks a lot like his older brother, Chris.

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p class="TEXT_w_Indent"> But enough about outward appearances. What really matters for Collinsworth is how the inside of his surgically repaired right knee is doing.

As you can read online at sltrib.com right now or in Thursday’s printed newspapers, Collinsworth says he is ahead of schedule on his comeback from major ACL surgery performed back on March 18 by Dr. Vernon Cooley, the same orthopedic surgeon in Park City who fixed Tiger Woods’ left knee.

"We have tried to keep a timeframe of where we want to be, and what we want to be doing. I am a couple weeks ahead of where we mapped things out, so it is good. I have a doctors’ appointment a week from today, so I hope to be cleared to do a lot more stuff," Collinsworth told me.

Collinsworth was kind enough to give me 20 minutes on Monday as he took a short break from his rehab work, and we talked about a lot of things that I couldn’t fit into a 25-inch feature on his recovery.

Most notably, Collinsworth acknowledged that he could possibly leave BYU after next season for the NBA and forego his senior season if he has a big year and is projected as an NBA first-round draft pick.

"Well, I am a little bit older, because of the mission. I plan on having a big year, and if I do, if the opportunities come, I will take them. So, I am not committed to four years. I am not going to say I am going to leave early, but if the opportunity comes, I will take it. .. If there are people predicting me to be a first-round draft pick, then I will go," he said.

Collinsworth knows he has the athleticism needed to play profession al basketball, but his shooting really needs to improve — especially his free-throw shooting. To that end, he said he’s been working with a shot doctor of sorts — Kirk Miles — to improve his percentages from the charity stripe and the field.

"I have spent a ton of time on free-throw shooting," he said. "I have a new routine, and have been working with different people, so I am excited. I have a shooting coach that I am working with right now, Kirk Miles. He gives me a different perspective. He’s been really good."

The BYU basketball team will look dramatically different this year with the early departure of Matt Carlino (to Marquette) and plenty of new faces, including Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer, UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes (in mid-December) and returned missionary Isaac Neilson, among others.

As for Carlino’s departure, which basically came because Collinsworth had been handed the starting point guard reins, Collinsworth had nothing but good things to say about the former Cougar.

"Matt was a good friend of mine, so it was kind of tough to hear he was leaving," Collinsworth said. "But if he wasn’t happy here, then he made the right move for himself. I respect his choice, and we are just moving forward from here."

Here are a few more comments from Collinsworth, on a variety of topics:

 

 

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