Q&A With Union Pines Slugger Nicholas Collins
Union Pines senior student athlete Nicholas" Nic" Collins signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Georgetown last week.. Recently the senior and third-year Viking team captain also took some time to sit down for an exclusive interview with the Pilot Sports team.
F.W. Manning II: Can you describe your feeling about signing to play ball at the next level in college?
Nic Collins: It is a dream come true for me and I am very excited.
FW: How long has this been a goal of yours and how bad did you want it?
NC:I have wanted to play at the college level ever since I was seven years old and discovered what college baseball was all about.
FW: You are a three year captain for coach Chad Hill -- what will you remember most about being a Vike?
NC: The part that I will remember most about being a Vike is building a family relationship with all of my teammates and coaches, especially Coach Hill. I can’t thank him enough for all of the time and effort he has put in for me. He always believed in me and pushed me to succeed at the highest level. Over the course of these four years I had the opportunity to play one year with my older brother Todd and two years with my younger brother Mason. That experience will always be special to me.
FW: Offensively the career you have had is the kind kids dream about, you have been truly elite --would you discuss that and how sweet it is to look back on that?
NC: I don’t consider myself to be any different than anyone else on the field. I just love the game and all the memories and good times that we as a team have enjoyed. I credit my success to my fellow teammates and coaches; if not for all of those guys none of this would’ve been possible. Every time I take a look back, I can’t do anything but smile from ear to ear.
FW In the same breath, it has to be almost as sweet, if not more so, to be signing to play ball at the next level. Discuss that please? NC: It is an amazing feeling to know that I am going to be playing ball at the next level! All I can do is thank God for all the blessings that he has given me in my life.
FW: With the pressure now off in terms of signing as you ready for your senior season, what are your goals as a Viking player and how does having signed affect those goals and your approach to high school ball?
NC: Of course I feel some relief but I don’t feel it will make any difference in my performance this year. I always strive to perform at the best of my ability so that we as a team can succeed and make memories that will go down in the books. I hope to have a great senior year along with all of my fellow teammates. My goals for this year will be to continue to better myself and continue to provide leadership for my teammates.
FW: What was the combination of things about Georgetown that sold you on selecting it as the place to sign prior to playing as a senior in high school?
NC: When we made the trip to Georgetown it rained the entire 5 ½ hour drive, but just as we were crossing the Key Bridge -- the sun came out and a rainbow appeared. I thought…this is a sign. It just seemed like the perfect opportunity. It just felt right. The campus is Division I but on a smaller scale. The baseball program is committed to academic performance. Coach Brown told me that the baseball team is like a family. When Coach Brown called and put my family on conference call, he told me that whatever I decided he understood. He believes that when you are searching for a college that everyone has a feeling when they know something is right. He did not want a decision that night; he wanted to give me and my family time to talk it over after giving us a scholarship proposal. He gave us a few days to decide. We all were a bit overwhelmed after the phone call. I think we all were in a state of shock for a few minutes. My parents basically told me that the decision was totally up to me and they would support me and my decision. I called Coach Brown back a few days later and verbally committed to Georgetown.
FW: What rank are you in your class and talk about how you bring the same level of seriousness to academics as you do baseball?
NC: I am currently ranked fourth in my class. I love the game and I study the game just like I do my academics. I like to know everything that is going on. As a catcher you get the opportunity to be involved in every play. If you as a batter come up to hit once, I want to remember what you did your first at bat when you come up to bat again.
FW. OK, it is open mic time. The floor is yours for thanking people and discussing those that really made a major difference along the way.
NC: First of all I would like to thank my mom and dad for always being there for me. My parents support me in everything I do. They have taught me to stay humble and work hard. My mom recently shared a quote with me. In the words of Coach John Wooden, former UCLA men’s basketball coach: "Talent is God-given, be thankful. Fame is man-given, be humble. Conceit is self-made, be careful. "
Thanks to my mom for pushing me academically so that I could excel in the classroom. She has always been there for me. She taught me discipline and the proper way to respect people. I can’t thank her enough as I make this next big step in my life. As for my dad, thank you for throwing me countless buckets of balls in the cage. He many spent hours on the road traveling to ball parks. We have a special relationship that ranges from baseball to going hunting and fishing. I look up to him and I only hope that I am able to grow up and mirror him. Next I would like to thank all of my grandparents who are at almost every single one of my games! It is an incredible feeling knowing that I have all of that support. All of my extended family has supported me over the years.
I especially want thank Coach Hill for the relationship that we have built together. He is not only my coach; he is my friend. It seems like yesterday when I was a freshmen playing with my older brother Todd on varsity. I hope our relationship will continue to grow. Thanks to Coach Doug Collins, Coach Barnes, Coach Gitzen, Coach Cropper, Fletcher Bates and my showcase coaches. My Canes coaches were instrumental in getting me the exposure I needed. I would like to give a special shout out to my very first travel ball team, The Sandhills Cobras. We were coached by Ben Eddy, Johnny Owen, Pete Mace and Barry Embler. Thanks to all of my wonderful teachers along the way. I appreciate all of the encouragement and guidance in my academics. And last but not least my brothers, Todd and Mason. They have always been there for me and provided me with some sibling rivalry which pushed me even more. Even though we have our ups and downs, they have always been there for me when I needed them.
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