When Vic Law first arrived at Northwestern, coach Chris Collins thought this was the kind of player you build a program around. A versatile scorer and defender, Law was rated as the #66 national recruit by ESPN.com in the class of 2014 out of St. Rita High School. Which is why it was so difficult for Law to watch Northwestern set a program record of 20 wins from the bench after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder before the start of the 2015-2016 season.
“Last year I would kind of kill myself on the sideline when we would lose those close games and just say ‘Man, if I was out there maybe I could have done something that would have helped us win,’” said Law.
Law started 19 games as a freshman, but averaged just seven points per game. Many expected him to break out in his sophomore year before he got injured. Law used the time to reflect and observe.
“As a Freshman I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well,” Law said. “And I think now especially after just sitting out and kind of watching basketball and watching players play I’ve settled down, relaxed and been able to just play my game and not put all that pressure on myself to do well.”
But now he is back and taking a different approach to the game.
“Coming back this year I’ve gotten a new hunger to play basketball and a new aggression to get back out there,” said Law.
He is averaging 20.3 points per game in the team’s first three games. The 18 points he scored in the opener against Mississippi Valley State was a career high. In the team’s next game against Eastern Washington he scored 26, setting a new career high. His hot start after missing a full year is impressing everyone, including his coach.
“I knew he was good but I was a little apprehensive,” Collins said. “It’s not easy to sit out a year and come back and just jump right in and play. I’m just proud of him … he’s been a little bit better each time out.”
In his first three games, Law is shooting 64 percent from the field and 78 percent from behind the arc, which is making things easier for his teammates.
“It just takes a lot of pressure off me for one and he’s shooting and attacking at such a high level,” said junior point guard Bryant McIntosh, who pointed out that in most cases Law is also guarding the other team’s best player.
After losing in a tight game to Butler, Northwestern faces another tough match-up in Texas on Monday and then against either Notre Dame or Colorado on Tuesday. But the way Law and the Wildcats are playing, there is reason for optimism.
McIntosh added, “He’s playing at such a high level and hopefully he can keep that up because he’s going to make us a really good team.”