Chris Collins had a busy July

I know, I know. We are all really excited about the start of football season and the academic year (probably in that order, maybe not). Thirty days seems way too long to see our beloved Wildcats try to gain redemption from last year’s debacle.

The recruiting cycle never ends though. It never, ever ends. Well, it goes on pauses and breaks. But it never ends.

For basketball, July is a critical recruiting and evaluation period as AAU tournaments and showcases take place around the country. While Northwestern has killed it on the recruiting trail since Collins took over, he is not resting on his laurels (not that he has any on the floor quite yet) and is continuing to work to build the program. He then went back to one of his old jobs for a fantastic opportunity.

First, the Northwestern bit.

Collins, and some members of his staff, attended the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Louisville and were caught watching and reportedly talking to several four-star recruits. The feeling is that these are not just light overtures or being done for the appearance of going after big recruits. Collins and his staff think they can get some of them.

It is hard to argue with results. He secured the <ahem> “Fairly Fab 5″ this offseason which included four-star prospect and much-celebrated and hyped wing Vic Law. Already this recruiting cycle he has locked down to three-star prospects in Derek Pardon and Jordan Ash. Pardon fits the stretch-4 mode of power forwards at 6-foot-8 and Ash is more of a point guard or combo guard.

Collins celebrates Illini winThe Wildcats, again, are continuing to be aggressive. They have already hosted five-star center Henry Ellenson at Welsh-Ryan Arena according to PurpleWildcats.com. And they spent much of their time at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Louisville talking to and being seen watching big-name recruits. There might be more stars next to players’ names in the Northwestern prospects list on the recruiting sites.

The Wildcats are being aggressive in their pursuit of these higher profile players.

Notably, Jeremy Woo of Scout notes, the Wildcats got some face time with Massachusetts three-star guard prospect Aaron Falzon. This is a true stretch-4 power forward with good size and really good range. Woo said he is Northwestern’s top priority for its Class of 2015.

A lot of work was done with the Class of 2016 at this summer stop. Collins and Northwestern are planting a lot of seeds that should come to fruition in the coming months.

The second item to discuss from July should certainly bolster that too.

Collins, thanks to his Duke connections to Mike Krzyzewski, coached the U.S. Select Team at Team U.S.A.’s training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup in Las Vegas. This was a team of young NBA players — such as Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris (what?) and Doug McDermott — who scrimmage against the players trying out for the national team. Collins had previously worked on Krzyzewski’s staff for the national team while he was at Duke.

This was a really great, high-profile opportunity for Collins to work with some NBA players and continue to learn from the Coach K coaching tree. It did not hurt hearing Fran Fraschilla say “Northwestern coach Chris Collins” when the broadcast of the U.S.A. Basketball Showcase scrimmage spoke about the preparations Team USA went through.

It was a really nice way to cap off a busy July.

Then, of course, Collins drove around in the car with Pat Fitzgerald to grab some coffee.

  • Icehockeycat

    Love how the first sports comments in the coaches ride are on how their kids are hockey fans. Come on Dr. Philips, how much do we need to raise to get a D1 program going?!

    • Philip Rossman-Reich

      I would think a complete remodel of Welsh-Ryan Arena would be necessary first.

  • CliffG

    those videos are pretty cool — very Chicago’s Big Ten Team