Zaon Collins’ path to UNLV took sudden and tragic turn –

Zaon Collins was supposed to conclude his final year of high school basketball the way he concluded his first three: with a victory. He was supposed to enroll at UNLV, supposed to invigorate its men’s basketball program, supposed to restore its past glory.

He was supposed to be on time to basketball practice on the afternoon of Dec. 30.

He wasn’t supposed to speed near Blue Diamond Road in a Dodge Challenger. He wasn’t supposed to be high on cannabis. And he certainly wasn’t supposed to crash into Eric Echevarria’s vehicle, ending his life.

That’s what Las Vegas Metro Police contend in an arrest report that Collins did on that fateful afternoon. And those contentions are what prompted Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to charge the 19-year-old basketball star with felony DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison.

Collins is due in Clark County District Court this week.

His attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, have released this statement: “Zaon maintains his innocence and is entitled to a fair and just court process in determining all of the circumstances of the accident. His case will be decided by the rule of law and not by media speculation or emotional reactions.”

Chesnoff said Collins won’t be speaking publicly in the immediate future and added he and Schonfeld are representing Collins pro bono — free of charge — because of their relationship with and affection for members of Collins’ family, the community he comes from and people that have followed his successes.

“Richard and I are very pleased to be helping him,” said Chesnoff, who, with Schonfeld, is considered one of the top defense lawyers in the country. “Everything that I was told about him in terms of his character has seemed

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