CHICAGO (WSYR-TV) — Perhaps the greatest player to ever shoot hoops in Central New York, Jimmy Collins, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 74, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Collins was born and raised in Syracuse, playing high school basketball for Corcoran and Vocational High School, now known as the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central, before playing college basketball at New Mexico State and eventually getting drafted into the NBA.
Collins was selected as the greatest high school basketball player in Central New York history by Syracuse.com in 2018.
After high school, Collins attended New Mexico State University, and helped lead the Aggies to a Final Four appearance in 1970 as an All-American. Collins was subsequently drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1970 NBA draft with the 11th overall pick.
Collins only played two years in the NBA, and later worked as an assistant basketball coach for the University of Illinois.
After 13 seasons as an assistant, Collins finally landed a head coaching job with the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996. After 14 seasons with the Flames, Collins left as the program’s all-time wins leader and helped the Flames to their first bid into the NCAA tournament in 1998.
According to the University of Illinois at Chicago, Collins is survived by his beloved wife, Hettie, and four children: Erica, Kenny, Semaj and Brandi.
Collins was 74 years old.
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