Hey all! Although my hot sports take on Chris Collins' introduction was the hottest, the sportsiest, and dammit, the most taken of any hot sports take on the web, it is worth noting that a lot of stuff is out there. Some of it from Collins himself! And although probably the most important thing to notice is that but for one day, people paid attention to Northwestern basketball - the Cubs and White Sox were off after opening day, I don't think the Blackhawks played, and the Bulls played the Wizards, its the Bears' offseason, and Illinois and Notre Dame didn't have anything interesting happening, so people actually listened to a guy saying he could make Northwestern basketball good - there were actually some hints about the program future you didn't pick up if you just watched the presser. So away we go!
First: THINGS OF INTEREST:
Phillips: "Have to get over on Central Street and redo Welsh-Ryan Arena" and work on Ryan Field.Off to great start with fundraising.— NUHighlights (@NUHighlights) April 2, 2013
Jim Phillips actually told a person that he one day plans to redo Welsh-Ryan Arena. It's not sure if he meant redo like "we redid our living room - yes, the chairs are European" or redo likebut I still think it's something he's never actually hinted at. Obviously its years and years and millions and millions of dollars away, but it's a thing he said! A big part of Collins' spiel Tuesday was that he plans on getting Welsh-Ryan hopping - it's the lede of Teddy G's piece, but we'll get to that later - but, yes, things need to be done.
The second THING OF INTEREST:
Collins: Wants Drew to do what's best for him, but also wants him to lead this team, "hopeful and confident" he'll stay— NUHighlights (@NUHighlights) April 2, 2013
He says this in this interview: Hopeful, confident. It's not clear whether Drew is included when he said he met with the team, but I'd imagine so. I see Drew staying, but, again, we'll wait.
Now, on to other stuff.
Chicago media gave Chris the Big Deal coverage. How big?
Back page of the Sun-Times, y'all.
Now, let's do some reading. We're not getting all of the stories, because, dammit, there's a lot, and most of them say the same thing. Just the interesting ones.
- Greenstein's story has some important tidbits in it. It starts with Welsh-Ryan talk, discusses Collins' 40-point triple-OT playoff game, and the contract - Kapman reported seven years, Greenstein reports at least six, so, yeah - but I think here's the crux:
But Phillips' meticulous search began with eight three-ring binders filled with bios of the head coaches, assistants and director of basketball operations from every Division I school — plus every NBA coach and those from top-25 Division II and III programs.
Phillips said he read every page. Twice.
Of all the candidates NU officials interviewed — more than five — Collins had the largest gap to close because he never had been a head coach.
"He won the job, he really did," Phillips said. "It was not a for-sure thing, not a given. Sure it's a nice story. But we all want it to be a nice story a year from now, three years from now, five years from now. It's not about winning the press conference."
We also find out that the mystery restaurant Collins and Morty met at - Tramonto's, in Wheeling. Man, I don't think any of us guessed that on Twitter.
- I hate sports columnists, but I don't hate Rick Telander, not by a lot. And his column on watching Chris Collins grow from a kid getting beaten up by the Bulls to Northwestern's coach - and he can actually do this thing - is a good read, and reminds you that Telander was once an NU athlete himself and kinda knows what he's talking about. He also makes a reference to those big-ass fish in the pond on the lakefill, so it's a win-win.
All those negatives about the school — the little gym, the tough classes, the lack of an inspiring history, the retro facilities, the high cost, the nearness to huge Chicago — every one of those is a positive if you stand it on its head.
My God, if, in this tough job world, a four-year scholarship worth a quarter-million dollars doesn’t resonate brightly in your little high school brain, then you are a fool. If you don’t want to learn something in life, shame on you. If you don’t think NU’s lakeshore campus is beautiful, wake up. If you don’t think it’s cooler to be in Evanston than, say, West Lafayette or State College, what’s your problem? If you don’t like the small, old gym, remember you only need one court to play on.
And make that court your home, your snake pit. Call it the ‘‘Cat House’’ and eat other teams like mice.
It includes the weird tidbit that at one point in time Coach K called Telander to see if he could get Tommy Amaker the Northwestern job.
David Kaplan's story for CSN is a really awesome story from when he coached Collins on the AAU circuit, which is a story nobody else can write, because, you know, none of us coached Northwestern's coach in college. Give it a read.
It's always fun reading Skip Myslenski write long things about things that happened long ago. It turns out Doug Collins was a jerk when he played basketball with little Chris, which, ha, but Chris says it helped him grow!
- Joe Henrickson of the Sun-Times is in tune with Illinois high school basketball, and his vote of confidence - and discussion of how he thinks more guys will play for Collins - means something. He also credits Bill Carmody for getting NU here, which we haven't done enough.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer focused on Doug Collins. He actually gave the Sixers a day off to attend his son's presser, although I guess I'd do the same, especially with the whole "way out of the playoffs" thing.- Hey, Wilbon!
- Northwestern released this press release with a whole cast of characters saying nice things about Collins. Dude, Kobe? I mean, what are the odds Kobe actually knows who Chris Collins is? I mean, what are the odds Kobe walks into his team's huddle and can correctly identify eight other players on the Lakers? Also included are Dickie V, Coach K, Kyrie Irving, J.J. Redick, and a very unenthusiastic Grant Hill.
Chris Collins isn't just the right fit for the head coaching job at Northwestern; he's the perfect fit...Damn excited to have Chris at NU...— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) April 2, 2013
Neil Hayes talked about Collins watching Michael Jordan play, which is sort of interesting, but more importantly, other stuff, like his hopes for his relationship with Pat Fitzgerald and offense:
"I love being able to put it in the basket," he said. "At the end of the day, you have to be good in all areas but you have to be able to score the ball. Basketball is going to a stage now at all levels where it has become a skill game again. You have to combine that skill with physical and mental toughness and then put guys in position based on your best players to make it work.Pretty noncommittal, but he's not going to be getting much defense done with this group, and since he talked heavily about matching a playing style to the players you have, yeah.
"Ideally, I'd like to play a style where we get out and shoot the ball. I don't want guys to be afraid of making mistakes. I want them to play freely on the offensive end and let them show their talents on the court within the framework of the team."
It's the whole fam!