Cayman student taking it to the hoop

Justin Collins holds the California Interscholastic Federation trophy. His Santa Clarita Christian School's Cardinals basketball team won the state championships in March.
Justin Collins holds the California Interscholastic Federation trophy. His Santa Clarita Christian School’s Cardinals basketball team won the state championships in March.

A former Clifton-Hunter High School student is making a name for himself as a basketball player in California.

Justin Collins, 18, just finished his junior year at Santa Clarita Christian School, where he plays point guard for the Cardinals basketball team. The team won the state championship title in Division 5 in March. In June, it topped a field of 45 teams at the War on the Floor tournament in Burbank.

Collins, who has been attending Santa Clarita for the past three years, is one of the team’s top scorers. In the state championship, he had 21 points – the second highest for the team.

He credits his success to his father, James Collins, 57, who has coached basketball in Bodden Town for 10 years. The elder Collins was an honorable mention All-American at Largo High School in Florida when he was a teen. He’s hoping Justin and his older brother Christopher, who will attend St. Louis College of Pharmacy in the fall, will have even greater success on the court. As Justin heads into his senior year at Santa Clarita, his prospects are good, James Collins said.

“I spoke with his coach recently,” he said. “He’s getting several looks from Division 1 and Division 2 [colleges].”

Both Collins boys connected with Santa Clarita through Victor “Voot” O’Garro, a fellow coach of James Collins who is friends with the California school’s head coach James Mosley.

“They reached out,” James Collins said of the Santa Clarita program. “They were looking for some big men.”

As a 6-foot 2-inch point guard, Justin fit the bill.

Justin Collins in action on the court.

The young star said he thinks the team’s recent successes will continue next year even though Santa Clarita is being vaulted from Division 5, the lowest CIF division, to Division 2, based on its performance.

During the off-season, Justin said, “We’re doing some hard tournaments to play against some of the top teams in the country.”

As a veteran player, he added, “I’ve got to push everyone in practice. We’ve got to go hard and get better. Now that we’re in a higher division, we’d like to at least make a name for ourselves. I think we’re ready for this.”

He said he is more focused on basketball than anything else. His goal is to land a scholarship with a Division 1 or Division 2 school. His father James said he doesn’t believe anyone from Cayman has reached that level in the past. A few players have had offers, he said, but have chosen to go to smaller schools in the end.

Although Justin plans to go to college, he hasn’t considered what he’d like to study.

“Eventually, something will pop up in my head,” he said. “I just want to play basketball in college. That’s my dream.”

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