There’s a certain type of feeling for an NBA rookie when he gets his first chance to go back to his roots and play for in front of a hometown audience. Unusually for Trail Blazers rookie Zach Collins, that opportunity comes this weekend at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas as he makes pro debut in front of friends and family on the UNLV campus.
Donning a suit lined with the iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign and matching shoes on draft night, the No. 10 pick out of Gonzaga has a next-level appreciation for his hometown. That pride is sure to be at the forefront of Collins’ play at Summer League.
“It’s always nice going home,” Collins told media before departing for Vegas on Friday. “I’m real proud of wear I’m from, proud of Vegas, so I’m definitely excited to get home and see some friends and family. Hopefully they get to see some games.”
Collins isn’t even a month-deep into his pro career, thus he admitted he’s not being hounded with ticket requests back home.
“I don’t have that group around me that’s always asking for stuff, so it makes it easy,” he said.
Barring expansion or relocation, the next week or so in Vegas could be the only time Collins gets to play in front of his hometown. Still, the 7-0 big man is hopeful one day the Blazers will get another Western Conference rival in the Mojave Desert.
“Hopefully one day they’ll get a team out there to where I can come out and play a couple times a year,” said Collins. “If that doesn’t happen, home is always home. It’ll be nice to get through when I can.”
Collins and the Trail Blazers tip-off Summer League play on Saturday afternoon versus the Utah Jazz at 3:00pm PT on CSNNW and ESPNU from the Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus.