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Basketball champ coaching Firebirds eyes another former Jayhawk as his assistant coach

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All-American and 2008 National Champion Sherron Collins plans to bring along a former Kansas basketball teammate to help coach the Free State boys basketball team this upcoming season.

Upon the school and district’s approval, former Jayhawk Tyshawn Taylor will join the Firebirds.

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“Tyshawn is a guy that I want to bring on,” Collins said. “Guy’s development is next to none. He’s been here working and helping us out. He’s a great fit for sure.” 

Taylor played for the University of Kansas from 2008-2012 before being drafted 41st overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. After 2014, he played for teams all over the world before announcing his retirement in October 2021.

Mac Moore, KSHSAA Covered / Contributed Photo Sherron Collins, pointing, leads a Free State High School basketball camp. At left is Tyshawn Taylor.

Taylor has been helping out at summer camp this week at Free State. Collins said Taylor has only recently applied, but he sees no reason why the school wouldn’t hire him. 

Regardless, Taylor is excited about his potential role on the staff.

“Hired or not, Sherron, that’s my boy,” he said. “So I’ll be around just kind of helping, giving some of my expertise so to speak. I’ve been doing my own youth training stuff since I’ve been in Lawrence.”

If all goes as planned, Taylor will be added to an already skilled coaching staff that includes Jamar Reese and another new addition in Adam Heslinga, pending school board approval.

Only six days into his coaching career, the effort from players excited Collins — especially the energy from underclassmen and leadership from upperclassmen.

Mac Moore, KSHSAA Covered / Contributed Photo Sherron Collins encourages players at camp Tuesday. Assistant coach Jamar Reese is in the background.

“I’m getting a lot of effort,” Collins said. “They’re trying hard. I think the best things I’ve got going for me is what I played and what I’ve done playing wise. So I’ve got respect on that level. They’re trying hard, they’re busting their tails, man, and that’s all I could ask for, especially as a new coach.”

Collins was happy to get to start his coaching career in Lawrence, but he said he was ready to implement his basketball philosophy wherever he was.

“I am excited. It didn’t matter where you put me at, I feel good and excited,” he said. “I think I trust in my craft, you know, the things I’ve learned. So, I’m ready to get this going. I’m ready to put my philosophy on these guys.”

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Collins thanked the Lawrence community, the Free State administration and his players for the support as he took on the new role.

Taylor said that for him, “it’s just gaining the experience watching him (Collins) grow as a coach, helping him along the way and trying to get my own experience and build up my resume.”

The Lawrence school board formally approved Collins’ hire on June 13 without discussion, which is standard practice, as part of the district’s personnel report that includes many hires and position changes.

Free State administration declined to comment on Taylor’s application and the hiring process. 

Note: Reporter Jack Ritter is a basketball manager at Lawrence High School. 

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Jack Ritter (he/him), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a student-journalist at Lawrence High School currently serving as the editor-in-chief for The Budget Online.

You can view more of his work for The Budget Online here. Read more of his work for the Times here.

Cuyler Dunn (he/him), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a student at the University of Kansas School of Journalism. He is a graduate of Lawrence High School where he was the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, The Budget, and was named the 2022 Kansas High School Journalist of the Year. Read more of this work for the Times here.

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