USA TODAY Sports
We're still a little while from hearing anything official, but talk about Northwestern's head coaching vacancy continues to center around Chris Collins, who leads the pack by more than a little bit.
Another day, time for another roundup of how Chris Collins has emerged as the far-and-away front-runner to be Northwestern's next basketball coach.
Talk is getting heavier and heavier and coming from more and more different sources. The consensus is basically right now that Collins is expected to get the job, and expected to take it. There are still other options, but pretty much everybody with sources - and those without them - seems to be in agreement that this is most likely.
...A source with knowledge of Northwestern's search said he would be "shocked if it's anyone but Chris."
...In a telephone interview, ESPN's Dick Vitale called it a "no-brainer" for Collins to get the job: "He fits their entire profile to perfection. He has a great personality, name recognition, he's a local guy, was a superstar in high school (Glenbrook North) and is part of an elite program that stresses academics and athletics. Everything is there. I can't see anyone ahead of him."
Greenstein also mentions the usual suspects - Bryce Drew, Dave Paulsen - and also Greg McDermott from Creighton, which is the first I've heard in that department, but Greenstein says someone told him the coach could be interested assuming Dougie goes pro.
Pete Thamel wrote a story on the longevity of Duke's assistants - Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, each of whom has logged ten years as second- or third-in-command under Coach K - with a heavy emphasis on the fact that Collins could take the Northwestern job, plus Coach K's first public comment on the topic:
"They're involved at the very highest level of college basketball," Krzyzewski said. "They're not going to leave unless they can go and try and pursue that. They're not looking for a job. They're looking to maintain that. If Chris Collins is involved with Northwestern, then he's not going there unless he feels he can get it done."
The article discusses his assistants' successes and failures in head gigs, and says that although Collins has been a devoted assistant, the NU job might be an ideal gig for him, although Collins wouldn't discuss the topic specifically.
With Northwestern interested, maybe the timing will be right for Collins to leave Duke. But he also knows how good he has it coaching under Krzyzewski and competing for a national title nearly every year.
"It's not like you're actively looking, but you keep your eye on what's going on," he said. "For me, any opportunity that comes my way I always listen to what's there."
ESPN Chicago throws NU's second all-time leading scorer Billy McKinney - remember him? - in the mix, which is something I have heard no chatter on and seems way, way unlikely considering McKinney has never coached at any level, that I know of.
And CSN Chicago went out and asked some coaches - Doug Collins, who, yeah, vouches for his son, Mike Brey, and Collins' high school coach turned Sixers assistant Brian James - all of whom were enthusiastic about Collins getting into head coaching somewhere without mentioning NU specifically.