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Northwestern basketball coach Chris Collins brings high hopes

Northwestern's new men's head basketball coach Chris Collins speaks during press conference Welsh-Ryan ArenEvanstIll. Tuesday April 2 2013. | Andrew

Northwestern's new men's head basketball coach Chris Collins speaks during a press conference at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill., on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 16, 2013 8:12PM

Northwestern basketball coach Chris Collins already has generated an unprecedented buzz.

He hasn’t even coached a game, but there’s reason to believe Collins will turn around an ailing program.

Collins’ recruiting class of 2014 is the best NU has ever had, headlined by sought-after prospect Vic Law, a senior at St. Rita.

Law represents inroads into the Chicago recruiting landscape that had been closed to NU.

Collins has the pedigree. He’s the son of former NBA player and coach Doug Collins, was an assistant at Duke for 13 seasons after playing for Mike Krzyzewski and attended Glenbrook North.

Of course, all the hype is for naught if the team doesn’t perform on the court.

“I know you’ve got to have the results, too,” Collins said. “It’s nice to have the buzz and the excitement, but at some point, you have to get on the floor and play. I understand that, and I’m looking forward to that.”

Law’s arrival is still a year away, but Collins has inherited players who can excel in his offensive system.

Mirroring Krzyzewski at Duke, Collins’ offense will emphasize moving without the ball.

Perimeter players JerShon Cobb and Drew Crawford, who can post or face up, have the versatility to flourish under Collins.

Junior point guard Dave Sobolewski said he has to learn four positions. Depending on who gets the defensive rebound, he could be playing in a number of spots.

Of course, that means the Wildcats have a lot to learn with a complete overhaul of the coaching staff.

Heeding the advice of his dad, Collins said he’ll resist the urge to implement everything at once.

“We’re trying to build a program,” Collins said. “It’s not about just having a team that’s good in one season. So what we’re trying to do is lay a foundation for everything — how we train, how we practice, how we treat each other — and that’s when you start developing a culture, a winning culture.”


Twitter: @SethGruen

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