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Collins calls 76ers, young players “sensitive,” “fragile”

Apr 9, 2012, 11:36 AM EDT

Doug Collins, Kevin Fehr AP

Well, this should help his standing in the locker room…

Old school, hard-a** coach Doug Collins had lifted the 76ers up last season and this season had them on top of the Atlantic Division and playing great defense with a fast 20-9 start. Then that defense slipped, the offense tanked, there was a losing streak heading into the All-Star break and Philly has stumbled since.

With all that the top spot and the Atlantic as well as the four seed have gone out the window — right now the Sixers are tied for the eight spot and are just a game up on the Bucks from being out of the playoffs altogether.

Collin’s nature in this situation is to be even more old school, hard-a** — but he says he can’t. That his players are too fragile. Here is the quote from Gethin Coolbaugh of SBN.

“The one thing about players today is that they’re very sensitive, and very fragile,” Collins said before his team’s game against the Boston Celtics on Easter Sunday. “They didn’t grow up with tough coaches. You know, I had my ass kicked since I was six. It’s a different time, and so I treat this team very much with kid gloves. I really do, and I’m still looked at as an ogre…

“It’s terrible, I mean, it’s hard. It really is hard,” he said. “I honestly find myself during the games looking at the coach [and asking], ‘Was I alright with those guys during that timeout? Did I hurt anybody’s feelings? Was I OK?’… ‘Coach, you’re fine, you’re fine’… I said ‘OK, OK, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.’ That’s the sensitivity, and the younger the guys, it seems like the more sensitive. And that’s what you’re wrestling with.”

He realizes he was brought in to guide and grow a young team, right?

A soft early-season schedule and fantastic play from Spencer Hawes fueled that early season Sixers run. But Hawes missed 15 games with an Achilles injury and has not been the same since, while the schedule has gotten tougher. The good news that is this week the Sixers have two games against the Nets and one against the Raptors. It’s a chance to get healthy get some wins.

If they are tough enough.

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