After making mostly cameo appearances as a freshman, Daimion Collins intends to have a meatier role for Kentucky next season.
Collins hopes to pack 215 or more pounds on his 6-foot-9 frame. When he spoke to reporters Friday, he said he weighed 200.
Of gaining weight and strength this offseason, Collins said, “that’s a huge priority because that’s probably one of my biggest downfalls (in 2021-22): my body. So, I’ve been working really hard to get my body right.
“I’ve gained a few pounds here lately. I’m still working to gain some more.”
When asked about how many calories he had added to his diet, Collins said, “a lot, a lot.”
His revised eating habits are not designed to add or subtract certain foods, he said. “It’s just how much I eat. All the protein, carbs and stuff like that.”
Kentucky listed Collins’ weight at 202 pounds last season.
“I think it will make a big difference in my game,” he said of adding weight and strength. “Just having that weight, I can’t get moved around and stuff like that. So, I think that will be a big jump to my game.”
A five-star prospect from the small town of Atlanta, Texas, Collins averaged 35.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, seven assists and 6.2 blocks as a high school senior.
His averages as a UK freshman were 7.3 minutes, 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds.
His 7-foot-5 wingspan was the biggest on the team. His 42-inch vertical leap was second-best.
Yet, Collins played 10-plus minutes in only one game after Dec. 17: 12 minutes against High Point. His playing time after December totaled 54 minutes.
Collins did not play in the losses to Tennessee (Southeastern Conference Tournament) and Saint Peter’s (NCAA Tournament) that ended Kentucky’s season with a thud.
“Even though I didn’t play in that game, it hurt me,” he said of the loss to Saint Peter’s.
Collins disagreed with suggestion that he would have considered entering the transfer portal after this past season.
“None at all,” he said of such a thought crossing his mind. “I knew once I committed here at Kentucky, I was fully committed. So, I didn’t have any interest in transferring.”
He said his parents helped him deal with frustration.
“My parents kept me positive,” he said. His parents would “tell me to keep working. My time is going to come.”
Collins expects to reintroduce himself to Kentucky basketball next season.
“This season I’ll be able to show my versatility,” he said. “How I can play inside and out, block shots, rebound, run the floor and just show I can play to my full potential.
“I’m a lot more comfortable. I’ve been working on my game a lot in the offseason, just getting ready for next season. So, I’m feeling ready and more comfortable.”