NBA Habitat For Humanity: First time building a house with my own hands

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Collins happy to get hands-on in Johannesburg (0:44)

Atlanta Hawks' John Collins looks back on his day helping build houses at the Habitat for Humanity event. (0:44)

Born in a military family with parents each serving for more than 20 years, Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins grew up well-journeyed while living in countries such as Guam and Turkey, shaping his worldview at an early age.

Now, he has put another stop on his map.

"Although I travelled a lot, this is my first time in Africa," the second-year forward told ESPN ahead of the NBA Africa Game in Pretoria, South Africa, on Saturday.

"I think I only have one more continent left, which is Antarctica," he laughed.

A member of this year's Team World squad, Collins can't wait to take the opportunity to compete and connect with others players from around the league.

"It's almost like a poor-man's All-Star team," he joked.

In the days leading up to the game, Collins and the other NBA players have been attending Basketball Without Borders Africa to work with 78 young basketball players from 29 African countries to improve their skillset.

It's a role that is new but quite exciting to him.

"I've never really been in a position like this so it's kind of my first time coaching and being a mentor." Collins said.

"I have fun interacting with them. Even with the language barrier I still feel like we connect."

Collins also enjoyed his experience at Habitat For Humanity, a project at which the players volunteered alongside coaches and legends of the game, executives and guests, to help to build 10 homes in Lawley Extension, on the outer south-western fringes of Johannesburg. At the completion of this project, the NBA will have created 87 places to live, learn and play in seven countries in Africa.

"It's really important to be hands-on, on the ground, helping out people like this," Collins told KweséESPN on site in Lawley.

"It's my first time building a house with my own hands."

A fashionista by nature, Collins is nothing but business when it comes to basketball and he's coming off a successful rookie season (averaging 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game), followed by a highly touted performance in the most recent Las Vegas Summer League (No. 1 in scoring with 24 points per game).

Despite a disappointing season for the Hawks, who finished last in the Eastern Conference, the 20-year-old Utah native keeps a positive outlook for Atlanta's future.

"You have a lot of stuff you go through," Collins said of his rookie season.

"For me, being young, I'm just trying to soak up everything and learn from my mistakes."

Now the third youngest player on the team, after Trae Young and Kevin Huerter of the 2018 class, Collins has everything at his disposal to elevate his game and leadership, continuing to learn from the veterans on the team.

"The guys I learned the most from in my first year were Dewayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore," Collins said.

"I constantly go to them for advice."

Even better, now he can also benefit from 41-year-old Vince Carter, currently the oldest player in the NBA, who joined the Hawks this summer. "We are a very young team," Collins said.

"I expect us to be very explosive, very high-powered.

"Obviously, we'll make a lot of mistakes as a young team but it's our job to fix those."

Additional reporting by KweséESPN in Johannesburg