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Former Kansas star Sherron Collins cheers for the Jayhawks from the sidelines on Oct. 22, 2017 at the Showdown for Relief in Kansas City. 

Sherron Collins stood in Allen Fieldhouse drenched in sweat once again. He’s done so many times, usually in his No. 4 jersey years ago. This time Collins wore sweatpants, a pair of Jordan’s and a jacket with “Kansas Jayhawks” written in blue.

Collins grasped a crimson cloth and wiped his face. He was speaking to the media, but often paused to gather his thoughts. “A kid from Chicago,” as he referred to himself, will see his No. 4 jersey hanging in the rafters on Monday next to the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White and Paul Pierce.

“I never thought where I come from, I could have this much of an impact on a University, let alone a community,” Collins said.

He imagines this will be one of the best days of his life.

“Probably the biggest since we won the National Championship. Probably at the top of my life," he said.

Collins feels connected to the University. So much so that he made it his home, moving here and though he’s not on the roster, Collins manages to get coach Bill Self up late in the night. Collins said he calls Self, sometimes at 2:30 a.m.

“He may think something's wrong, but I just want to talk sometimes,” Collins said.

A career of injuries and playing as a backup on a National Championship team didn’t hinder Collins’ success. Self said Collins’ struggles were beneficial.

“The best thing that happened to us was him getting hurt because it allowed Russell (Robinson) to start,” Self said.

Even when Collins returned to full health, Robinson kept the starting point guard role for the Jayhawks. When Collins could have taken this as a setback, he propelled forward.

“You always want to be the man,” Collins said. “But roles change and I understood, being in coach’s system, when you win everybody gets a piece of the pie, so I knew I wanted to win more than single accolades.”

After the 2008 National Championship, Collins emerged as a collegiate star. In his junior season, the guard averaged nearly 19 points and five assists a game.

But what Collins gives to the University is more than a championship banner and impressive numbers.

Kansas players served as role models to the current roster after their time is up, and Collins is sticking to the number on his jersey with senior guard Devonte’ Graham.

“The first time I reached out to [Collins] was after we lost back to back and I was just asking him what I need to do as far as playing and what I need to tell the guys,” Graham said. “He’s been here and done it. He won a championship, was All-American and all of that. He knows the game and he knows coach.”

Collins was happy Graham wanted to talk with him and respected it. He said he had former players serving as role models for him when he played too.

“When I was here Aaron (Miles) and those guys were like big brothers to me,” Collins said. “It’s a cycle and you want to be a part of it.”

Being a Jayhawk is forever to these players, and they like to make the most of their final playing days. Graham said he is aware he only has three home games left. Collins could relate when he said he couldn’t escape his senior day speech.

But Collins’ speech on Monday will have him sweating again. He said he is more nervous for these five minutes than his senior day speech.

But Lawrence is his home and his memories here are the best he has. Just Wednesday night Collins watched the 2008 National Championship game. While he said he knew everything that was going to happen, he still got jitters.

There have been many great players since Collins: Andrew Wiggins, Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III to name a few.

“I think Sherron is the best basketball player we’ve recruited since we’ve been here,” Self said. “He was terrific.”

Collins will have his jersey retired Monday against the Oklahoma Sooners in Allen Fieldhouse.