As Sixers prep for Wizards, Collins mum on future

As Sixers prep for Wizards, Collins mum on future

April 12, 2013, 3:45 pm
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WASHINGTON - The Sixers' shootaround on Friday looked like every other shootaround they have had this season. There was preparation for that night's opponent, the Wizards, and drills to get loose.

Head coach Doug Collins was off to the side, picking his spots when he used his voice, speaking above those on his staff. He looked like a coach in control of his team.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that people within the Sixers organization are hoping Collins steps aside despite one year remaining on his contract. Collins did not want to speak about that or anything else with the media Friday morning, but his players  had his back.

“Coach has been there each and every day. We text back and forth,” Thaddeus Young said. “I am one of the guys he can come to and talk to and we can have long conversations, but Coach is still committed to this group and putting all his time into finishing this season right.”

Which has impressed even Evan Turner, whose history with Collins hasn't always appeared amicable.

“We are here at shootaround right -- we still practice,” Turner said. “From what I am told other teams would have hung it up by now and cut it short. It has been bad. I will stick up for him in this matter. Everybody takes the blame. I am not saying the media is bad, but they can pile manure on top of the person taking the blame.”

If in fact Collins doesn't return, one player in particular who will miss his presence is Young, who under Collins grew into a leader, a role that doesn't come natural to him.

“I have never been a guy who is going to talk and say a lot, but I have definitely built a bond with Coach over the past couple years,” Young said. “And we are definitely the two on the team who definitely talk the most via text, or he will pull me into a room and say I need your energy or I need you to pick this group up, and I have been the guy who has done that job to the best of my abilities.”

Young has been through a season worse then this. In his third NBA season, the Sixers went 27-55. Young remembers that experience being far different then what is going on now, despite two consecutive blowout losses.

“I would say that year was worse for me for the simple fact that I could not find my way throughout that whole season,” he said. “It was one of those things where I just wanted that year to be over. This year has still been a pretty decent year. We are going out there and playing our hardest, nobody is quitting, and we are still going out there and trying to win games.

“That year was one of those years where everybody was like let’s just get this over with,” he continued. “The situation is completely different. We have coach, and he is completely devoted to the group, whereas Coach Jordan was still trying to find his way and deal with the group that he had.”