While former BYU standout Kyle Collinsworth went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, he shined in the summer league and was given workouts by several different teams.
He was signed to a two-year contract by the Dallas Mavericks, who kicked off their preseason last week. In Collinsworth's first game he had three rebounds, an assist and a block in 15 minutes of action. In game two he had three rebounds, two assists, a steal, and his first points (a free throw) to help seal the 95-88 victory over Charlotte.
I caught up with Collinsworth this week to talk about his transition to the pros and his latest off-the-court project, Athlete’s Guide 5.
When Collinsworth arrived at BYU it was in the middle of Jimmer-mania and he quietly made a very solid contribution as a true freshman, averaging 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game en route to the Sweet 16.
Following that season he served a two-year LDS mission in Russia and returned to modest expectations. Instead of slowly easing back into playing shape Collinsworth was made a team captain and had an immediate impact, finishing the season in the top 100 nationally in five different statistical categories. He averaged 14.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals and was named to the All-WCC team.
When asked how he returned so impressively from his two-year break, he responded: "Positive attitude.”
He also credits his quick return from ACL surgery following his junior year to attitude and visualization.
“It’s easy to visualize success when things are going good," he said. "I learned to visualize success in the tough moments. I learned to visualize success when everyone else saw failure. My mental strength is what shaped my college career and put me where I am today.”
Collinsworth's positive attitude, visualization and work ethic not only resulted in several individual records in various statistical categories but in a complete overall game. When asked about his offseason training and preparation for the NBA and said he's “working on everything” as the speed of the NBA is so much faster than the college game.“
“We have early group before practice starts and then we have practice. Then we come back in the evening and get up shots. It’s a lot of hours of basketball, but I’ll take that extra basketball over going to class," he said, laughing.
But while Collinsworth is spending considerably more time training than he did in college, that’s not all he is doing. He talked about his new website, www.athletesguide5.com, a passion project for him and a way of giving back to his community, those who have helped him in his athletic journey and the next generation.
“There are so many things I wish I knew as a kid that I know now. I want all young athletes to know all the little things that can help them improve as an athlete. I don’t want people to think — man, I wish I knew more about nutrition five years ago. Or man, I wish I knew how to come off an ACL surgery. I want to put what I’ve learned out there and allow others to read and learn, and also contribute what they have learned and what has worked for them as well. I want a place where people can gather on the internet and learn how to become the CEO of their body and career.”
Athlete’s Guide 5 is a blog that already includes interviews with athletes familiar to sports fans in Utah. Jimmer Fredette (BYU, Shanghai Sharks) talks about how to recover both physically and mentally in order to keep energy up, while Bronson Kaufusi (Baltimore Ravens) describes what he eats in a day.
There are also other posts by Collinsworth that cover what he dubs “the five essential” aspects of athletic performance: mental approach, nutrition, strength and conditioning, recovery and rehabilitation. Moving forward he plans to continue posting on these topics as he continues to learn things that help him elevate his own game.
“I love to read stuff on nutrition and anything to do with improving. I continue to read and learn from others every day, and I want to keep posting the things I’ve learned so others can learn as well.”
Tyler Christensen is a teacher, writer and web designer. He maintains the blog www.byuinsider.com, which centers on BYU recruiting and statistics. Follow him on Twitter @byu_insider.