Chris Collins has already won us and the coaching community over.
OK, maybe the day after announcing a hiring is the time when positive feelings are at the highest as the hopes for the future are at their apex. Northing can go wrong yet. Continue to welcome Collins, because a lot of the work he has to do this summer is still coming up on the horizon.
It is coming though. And there are some big things Collins has to do to begin with.
There are two outstanding recruiting jobs for Northwestern to tackle for this upcoming season that will require Collins’ immediate attention. Before establishing his offensive and defensive sets and beginning to work with the players he has to figure out the futures for Drew Crawford and Jaren Sina. Almost immediately, we will see whether Collins is as good a recruiter as advertised.
Maybe not to that extent. Both Crawford and Sina will have to make decisions rather quickly and Collins will not have the years coaches usually have to gain a relationship with such key players. But he will have to sell his vision to the two pretty quickly and hope that they are still on board.
Sina, as we know, re-opened his recruiting after Northwestern released him from his Letter of Intent following Bill Carmody’s dismissal. Sina is looking at Northwestern, Alabama and Seton Hall with rumors Indiana has been in contact with the four-star point guard too. Sina’s father, Mergin, said his son would consider Northwestern in his re-opened recruitment and he wanted the chance to get to know the new coach.
Doing that will come.
More immediately, and more likely to be successful, Collins will have to work to do to persuade Drew Crawford to use the final year of his eligibility at Northwestern.
Crawford would have played out his final season this year, but a torn labrum forced him to sit out the season after just 10 games and seek a medical hardship. He should get that extra year of eligibility and be able to play. However, there is still the chance now with Carmody gone that Crawford could leave Northwestern and spend his final year of eligibility elsewhere.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reports Crawford would only leave Northwestern if it were a “good basketball decision” and he would get the chance to play for a top-notch team. Of course, Crawford could still make the decision to leave school entirely. He does not have to play basketball this year — although Crawford has been accepted into Northwestern’s sports administration program.
More than likely, Crawford will be an easy sell and Collins will have his team’s best returning player on the roster ready to lead the transition to Collins’ tenure (and maybe do more… who knows at this point?).
Still, it is a recruiting battle that Collins cannot overlook. And it is the first thing Collins will have to do before hitting the real recruiting road and going after Sina and building his first Northwestern recruiting class.
Once Duke loses in this Tournament (or wins the whole thing), Collins is sure to be hitting the ground running on the recruiting trail.