As you have probably already heard, Northwestern has hired Chris Collins as their new head basketball coach. Collins will be replacing a man, Bill Carmody, who many wanted fired years ago. I was among that group, but I realize that Carmody took Northwestern to the next level. I just believed his time was done when he told Kevin Coble to get on the plane or get off the team.
Northwestern’s Athletic Department released a press release Wednesday night, officially announcing the signing.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Chris, his wife, Kim, and their children, Ryan and Kate, home to Chicago and into the Northwestern family,” said Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips in the release. “He has a tremendous pedigree as a basketball coach and will be an outstanding leader for Chicago’s Big Ten Team, and mentor for our student-athletes. After a thorough and comprehensive search process, there is no doubt he is a perfect fit for this institution and our mens basketball program.”
Collins said, in the release, that he was excited about the new position.
““I’m so grateful to President Schapiro, Chairman Osborn and Dr. Phillips for the opportunity to lead the mens basketball program at one of the premier universities in the world, to compete in the Big Ten Conference, and to do so in my hometown,” Collins said. “Northwestern University is a special place that strives for excellence in every regard, and our program will be no different. I can’t possibly thank Coach Krzyzewski and Duke University enough for preparing me for this day.”
Collins has now inherited a team that Carmody built for success. With players like Drew Crawford, Jershon Cobb and Dave Sobolewski returning, this team could potentially make a deep run as early as next season.
Collins grew up close to Chicago and Northwestern in Northbrook. He was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Glenbrook North High School and attended Duke, where he experienced plenty of success.
Collins can also be credited with recruiting Chicago stars such as Jon Scheyer and Jabari Parker. This is the perfect guy for the Northwestern coaching job. He can recruit the kids in Northwestern’s back yard and relate to the 4- and 5-star recruits. I don’t know much about his basketball philosophies, but I am sure he learned a thing or two from coach Mike Krzyzewski while serving as an assistant coach at Duke.
Regardless of what his system is offensively or defensively, Collins is inheriting a good team. Aside from the returning members mentioned earlier, Collins will be coaching two young seven-footers in Alex Olah and Chier Ajou, and hopfully can get the best out of players like Tre Demps and Kale Abrahamson. Not to mention Nate Taphorn, who has signed his letter of intent.
Jaren Sina also might be back in the discussion now that Northwestern has made their coaching decision, however as I have said before, I don’t think he is something to worry about. With Sobolewski returning, the Wildcats should be fine at the point guard position next season and there is no reason to believe that Collins won’t get his style of players in as soon as possible.
The time is here, Wildcat fans. With some promising returning players and a can-do attitude, Northwestern could find themselves in the NCAA tournament in 2014. Even if they don’t, I am sure we will still see very competitive basketball.