ST. LOUIS – Yuri Collins can score. That's no question. But the St. Mary's point guard is one of the few players on the court that cares about something more.
“I want a game where I have 25 assists or more. No turnovers," said the junior.
That's the idea of Yuri's 'perfect game' according to Yuri. Dish enough dimes to make an ATM jealous. And win the game. Personal buckets are an added bonus.
To Yuri, it's all about distributing the ball to his teammates to make something special happen on every possession.
“If I see you open. I'm gonna thread the needle. I'm gonna get it to you," he said.
The St. Mary's point guard shattered the school's assist record as a sophomore. Now, more than a 100 assists later, he's nearing 500 for his career. And he could be well on his way to leading the Dragons to just their third district title in 35 years.
“That's what I do out here. So I'm a pass-first point guard. I like to get others involved before I think about scoring and stuff," said Yuri.
Bryan Turner, St. Mary's boys head basketball coach says it's rare to come across a naturally gifted, 'true point guard.'
“He makes the game so much fun. He's very creative with the basketball," he said. "There are times I just kinda sit back and am in awe with some of the things he's able to come up with.
“A lot of teams will love to have a true point guard. A lot of times we try to make kids into point guards and they don't have it. This kid has the 'it' factor and he just makes this team run," said Turner.
Yuri has five offers from area Division-I basketball programs so far, but with his work ethic and natural ability at the point, it's only a matter of time before more schools start licking stamps.
“I know I can pass the ball but I don't feel like it's the best because I still have turnovers every game. I'm still working on everything," said Yuri.
According to the MSHSAA website, the state record for assists is 1170 by St. Charles West's Ryan Robertson (1992-95). Yuri has the potential to surpass 825 for his career, which would put him third on the state's all-time list.