Curtain Opens On Collins Era

ChrisCollinsDuke_Butler040510

Late last week we debated the merits of a Duke national title run and weighed it against Chris Collins beginning ASAP in Evanston.  Well, thanks to Louisville’s pounding of the Blue Devils in a game marred by a horrific leg break to Kevin Ware, the earned media debates of Northwestern’s name in NCAA coverage is a moot point. Jim Nantz did congratulate Chris Collins late during the second half last night and gave a :30 Northwestern plug, if you call it that. Nantz mentioned Collins’ new job at Northwestern, referenced his proud father Doug, who was watching from the stands, and then of course mentioned that despite NU hosting the first NCAA Tourney in 1939 that the Wildcats had never made it. Both Nantz and Clark Kellogg gave their stamp of approval that they believe Collins will break through in Evanston.

Meanwhile, Nick Medline of PurpleWildcats.com posted a feature with Jaren Sina, who had roughly a 40-minute conversation with Chris Collins on Saturday night. Medline reported that Sina was impressed by Collins and he was seemingly pleasantly surprised by how much he had in common with the new head coach. Indiana reportedly made their in-home visit that same day as Sina is looking at the Hoosiers, Alabama and a few others, including Northwestern. There is a recruiting dead period this week, but it seems as though Collins may be paying a visit to Sina next Monday, according to Nick’s report. Not surprisingly, Collins has already been hard at work, despite not physically being in Evanston.

Louie Vaccher of WildcatReport.com posted some good news last night, although it was pretty much expected. Nate Taphorn, the 6-7 swing player from Pekin, Illinois, is keeping his commitment to become a Wildcat and he also chatted with Chris Collins, but this time it was last Thursday night. Vaccher’s interview yielded this promising quote:

“I can’t wait to play for Northwestern and I’m really excited to get to know (Collins),” – Nate Taphorn, to Louie Vaccher of WildcatReport.com

Tomorrow, media will descend upon Evanston to capture the 11 am ct press conference introducing Chris Collins as the Northwestern head coach.  We’ll be sure to be slicing and dicing every word and offering what will likely be yet another shot of adrenaline to the Wildcats basketball program. Fans are awaiting the announcement of Collins’ staff, news of Drew Crawford returning for his fifth year and of course, the potential recommitment of Jaren Sina, a decision the family said will happen by April 17.

Kelly Amonte Media Love

Collins isn’t the only ‘Cat coach getting the spotlight tomorrow. Women’s lacrosse coach, Kelly Amonte Hiller, will be the focus of Comcast Sports Net Chicago’s Inside Look series, which premieres tomorrow night at 9pm ct.

  • Noah

    I hope this one is upbeat and positive. I know it was tough for JP to fire Bill Carmody, but that press conference was really negative. If we can fill the news with positive stuff: Collins, Sina/Taphorn/Crawford, any facilities news, or other tidbits, would be a great surprised

  • MF

    I’m very excited and hopeful for Chris’s regime. I saw that Doug Collins was quoted as saying that NU was making a big commitment to winning. Boy, do I hope that’s true! Also, I live in the north burbs and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a spike in season ticket sales based solely on old friends and connections from Chris’s high school days.

  • DR

    it will be interesting to see if some of the fawning that Coach K receives from ESPN and the other sports media spreads a bit to Chris Collins as he makes his way north. I get the feeling that Sina will be back in the fold, and that Drew Crawford will stay as well. If all that happens there is going to be significant pressure on this team, which of course now includes a new coach, to make the tournament. We all thought that this season would be the one that broke the curse. So all things being equal, and the addition of two new exciting freshmen, why would we expect anything less than our first tournament invitation?

    Point is, in spite of all the positive vibes now, Collins’ honeymoon with alums and fans is going to be non-existent. Even more so if you believe that Collins will provide an upgrade over the old regime in terms of fundamentals, depth and end-of-game decision making – and let’s face it, the Princeton offense, as fun as it was to watch when it worked, was getting stale, and everyone’s seen it, and if you pack it in and hit the boards you can kill it.

    Any new, modern day scheme will be an upgrade, in my humble opinion.

    In any event, good luck to our new coach, come on Mr. Sina, don’t fade our new commitment by opting for Alabama (unless you play football) or Indiana (Crean will give you nightmares), wecomel Mr. Taphorn and Drew, we can’t wait to see you back and leading the new squad into the promised land!

    BTW, any word on what Coach Carmody is seeing in terms of interest, offers, etc? Let’s not forget what a great citizen of NU he truly was.

    Go Cats.

    • cece

      curse. seriously,no.

    • Scott Feeney

      I have to disagree, because even with Crawford coming back, I don’t believe this team is good enough to make the tournament next year. As much as I like Crawford, he is streaking and often just disappears in games. And he is our best player. Olah is still a project. Sobo is not really a scorer. Tre Demps and Jershon Cobb are all unproven. I am not sure how the hardiest of NU fans could believe that Chris Collins should lead this team to the dance next year. It would be a miracle if he did.

      • DR

        I think I agree with you on paper, but was really speaking more to the enthusiasms expressed on the various boards and in the media before this season began – there was a lot of expressed feeling that this year was going to be the year. whether that’s realistic or not, what I was trying to say is all things being equal, if the team that many felt was supposed to go last year is now the same +2, then it follows that this new improved version should be expected to go. Collins’ honeymoon will be short lived and if the team performs poorly next year the pressure on Collins and Phillips will only expand.

        • virginiaNU

          maybe we should give him 13 years and expect only 8th place finishes

        • Alum Dad

          I think we all found out that Bill Carmody sold us a bill of goods last year with his praise for his incoming players. They mostly look like projects to me. I’m hopeful that Chris Collins can squeeze something out of them. I’m also hoping that he is bringing some rebounding drills with him! If Drew Crawford continues to disappear on a semi-regular basis it could be another underwhelming season, results-wise. Unless Chris Collins can work miracles I’m not expecting much from his inherited squad. I think an NIT bid is probably a stretch for next year. I’m not saying we give him 13 years, but I’d at least like to let him coach a couple of players he actually recruited before we get out the pitchforks.

          • Max_Power

            I think on paper that a starting five of Crawford, Cobb, Swop, Sobo and Olah with Hearn as the sixth man and Marco as the seventh would have been more than ok. The end of game line-up likely would have been Sobo, Cobb, Crawford, Hearn and Swop. That’s 4 athletic guys with range to 3 and Sobo.

      • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

        Agreed. Especially with a) a new system b)no consistency to speak of down low and c)with a loaded B1G once again.

        • JM

          I think they have a chace to be a “bubble team” if everything goes their way, which –lets face it– is not the way it usually works. Crawford and Cobb both have to come back better than before, Alex Olah needs to take a quantum leap and they need Kale to become a consistent offensive player, and that’s just the start.

    • http://www.facebook.com/prossmanreich Philip Rossman-Reich

      I had read that Bill Carmody had received some interest from Marist for their vacant head coaching position.

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Nebraska3000
Minnesota2100
Iowa3100
Illinois2100
Wisconsin2100
Purdue2200
Northwestern 1200

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Penn State3010
Maryland3100
Ohio State2100
Michigan2100
Michigan State3100
Indiana1100
Rutgers2101