Nick Collison

Among the 10 conference championships and four Final Four appearances that hang in the rafters at Allen Fieldhouse from the days of Roy Williams teams that spent the early 2000s on top of the nation in college basketball, there is one banner that has its own place.

Nick Collison's No. 4 jersey commemorates the contributions over four seasons with the Jayhawks. In those four seasons, Collison and fellow Iowa native Kirk Hinrich starred on some of the greatest teams to ever play in a Kansas uniform.

Though Williams' Kansas teams never won a national title, his era of Kansas basketball is often regarded as one of the best. Collison made it to the Final Four in his junior year and lost in the national championship game to Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse in the 2002-03 season, his senior year.

Collison said his memories of his time at Kansas are most vivid in the Fieldhouse, though he couldn't put a finger on a specific favorite memory in the building.

"I just have memories of what it felt like playing there," Collison said. "And those times that you go on a run and 10-0 run or whatever and just how loud it was. It's just a lot of fun. Really fun, probably the most fun basketball has ever been for me."

Collison finished his collegiate career as the second-highest scorer in program history. He was named the NABC Player of the Year in the 2002-03 season, and also won the Big 12 Player of the Year award.

At halftime of a game against Michigan State on Nov. 25, 2003, Collison's four years at Kansas were honored in the rafters alongside some of the greatest players in the sport.

"It was a surreal feeling," Collison said. "I'd always seen jerseys up there every day at practice and every game but it was really a cool day for me, to see mine go up in such a historic place like Allen Fieldhouse."

Collison was a starter for all four of his years in a Kansas uniform. He averaged 18.5 points and 10 rebounds per game in his senior year with Kansas. He was one of the most important players for Kansas during a national championship run in the 2002-03 season.

Another memory from his four years at Kansas that Collison pointed out was the excitement on campus when the team returned for the week after winning the Elite Eight.

The 2002-03 season was the last season at Kansas for coach Roy Williams before he left for North Carolina. Collison said Williams was a major factor in his upbringing as an NBA player.

"I learned how to really play hard and compete, develop some really good habits," Collison said of his time under Williams at Kansas. "A lot of stuff I learned there, it really has helped me have a long career in the NBA. I was very fortunate to play for [Williams] and had a really good experience."

Drafted 12th overall by the Seattle Supersonics, Collison went on to contribute starting minutes for the SuperSonics in four seasons. His best season statistically was 2007-08, when Collison scored 9.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Collison's 13-year NBA career might be coming to an end soon. He's spent all 13 years with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, through a move from Seattle (as the Seattle SuperSonics) to Oklahoma City.

The Thunder are currently fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the 2016-17 season, Collison backs up Thunder big man Enes Kanter.

"We're having a good year, I'm not sure how long I'm going to play," Collison said. "Just kind of do well this year and be ready to play if coach calls my name. And then when the season's over I'll reevaluate and see what's next and see what's out there about next year."

— Edited by Sean Collins

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