home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 11, 2018

Chris Collins

Madison Square Garden - New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: We are joined at the podium by Northwestern head coach Chris Collins. Collins enters his sixth season with the Wildcats, led Northwestern to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history in 2017.

Coach, we'll start with your opening statement, then take questions.

CHRIS COLLINS: Good morning. Good to see everybody again. Before I get started, obviously we lost a great member of the Northwestern basketball family last night in Tex Winter. I got to know Tex a little bit. He was an assistant coach for my father with the Bulls in the '80s. Terrific basketball mind, person. I want to wish his family all the best. Tough loss last night.

Coming into the season, as all coaches are now, we haven't lost any games, so we're all really excited. We all feel really good about our teams. But I'm looking forward to seeing what our group can become. We have a really interesting mix of newcomers and some mainstays. I've been really proud of the leadership of our senior class, Dererk Pardon, Jordan Ash and Vic Law, that set a really good tone for six new players, four freshmen and two transfers that we're going to count on.

We're still in the process of figuring out kind of how our pieces fit, who we're going to be as a team. I think we have good players. I think we have a good mindset. Obviously we're opening a brand-new arena this year, which is going to give us a nice jolt of energy getting back home, back on campus, really excited about what that's going to bring for our team.

Really looking forward, it's going to be a great conference season. A lot of good teams, terrific coaching obviously. I mean, for the first time in a while, there's no new coaches. Every program in our conference has a good culture, has a good plan. The games are going to be hard-fought. I think it's going to be up to us to become that tough-minded group that finds a way to win in a tough conference.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions.

Q. Obviously two years ago make the tournament, not last year. For a gentleman like you that's building a program, how do they take the next step from going to not just celebrating a tournament but now being there consistently? How do you teach them that?
CHRIS COLLINS: Yeah, it's a mindset, it's a consistent work ethic. We're very proud of what we've done over the past five years, how we've grown. You learn lessons along the way, good and bad. I think for our older guys, specifically Vic Law and Dererk Pardon, having the year two years ago where we were a together group, played well, then last year just could never put all the pieces together, kind of find that consistency, I think shows the value of what you have to do day in and day out. You can never assume anything. If you have a lot of guys coming back, you feel like you're the same team, every year is new, and you got to work every day as if you have never won a game. You have to build that camaraderie again, and build that teamwork again.

I've been really proud of our guys, the way they've handled the off-season. We don't talk about last year. I think that's redundant. I think we look forward. We have a lot of new players. There's new blood in the program, new energy. We're excited about what we can potentially become, what can potentially come of our team this year. We know it's a new journey. We've tried to work incredibly hard to get ready for the season.

Q. Your team struggled shooting the ball, especially from deep, last year. How much do you expect to focus or have Ryan Taylor as a focal point in this offense?
CHRIS COLLINS: That's something that we would get into ruts offensively at times. It's hard to win when you have six to eight-minute stretches in games where you don't score, or you go into that drought. It's something we've really tried to address in recruiting. Having a guy like Ryan Taylor, coming from Evansville, was the leading score in the Missouri Valley, is an elite-level shooter and shot-maker, is going to give us another potent weapon offensively.

I feel like we have more shot-makers than we've had in the past. Certainly we're going to miss what McIntosh and Lindsey brought in the backcourt. But with the pieces we added, the ability to have more guys that can put the ball in the basket will help some of those offensive woes we went through at times last year.

Q. Obviously in the past couple seasons, the question of who is going to bring up the ball, initiate the offense is pretty clear. Is there an individual that might be stepping up into that role?
CHRIS COLLINS: I think it's going to be maybe a little bit of both. We have a couple guys in Jordan Ash and Ryan Greer who are more point guard types. Then I think you'll also see us take a look at more unconventional lineups. I feel one of the strengths of our team is our versatility on the perimeter, guys like Anthony Gaines and A.J. Turner, who is a newcomer, who sat out from Boston College, Ryan Taylor, Vic Law, Miller Kopp as a freshman, Pete Nance as a freshman. I feel like we have a lot of guys on the perimeter that have length, that have size, that can score, do a little bit of everything.

I think you'll see us take a look at different lineups, kind of find that right mix. Certainly we don't have anybody who is going to do what Bryant McIntosh did. He was a special player, did a lot of great things in our program. I think we can be effective in different ways. I think you'll see us take a look at some different lineups and things defensively to tailor what the guys we do have to the floor.

Q. This Vic Law guy seems very interesting, seems like a dynamic guy. I want to know how you're going to use him this year.
CHRIS COLLINS: I hope he plays some defense (laughter). It's special to have Vic Law back for his fifth year. Vic was the first guy who committed to me when I first got the job at Northwestern. We have a special bond because of that. He's been an incredible leader for us.

I've always said Vic is the jack-of-all-trades type of player. He's at his best when he's impacting the game in a lot of different ways. I think he can score, but I think he -- I really believe he's a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in the conference, his defensive versatility to guard four positions, the impact he can have at that end on the glass. I'm really going to challenge him from a leadership perspective. With a lot of new guys, the connection that he and I and Dererk and Jordan, those older guys, we have to collectively lead this group and make sure that we're always on the right path towards winning. He's done a great job with that.

I think you'll see Vic have a really good year this year.

Q. Last year Miles Bridges told me it was ridiculous that the NCAA kept him from spending time with Tom Izzo. That's why he came back. Engineering students aren't hindered. Do you think it's ridiculous that the NCAA is made up of bureaucrats and there's no coaches?
CHRIS COLLINS: I mean, I guess, the way you put it. Look, I mean, I think they're trying to do the best that they can. There's been a lot of talk of adding more former coaches, people that are going to be in the room that can give a coach's perspective.

Inherently, when it comes to spending time with the players, I believe guys that want to be good, they want to be coached by their coaches, they want to get on the floor. I think there's a fine line figuring out the time management. They did give us a couple more hours than we've had in the past when it comes to being on the court with our guys in the off-season. I think more of that is nothing but a positive.

Guys are going to be training. If you're not letting us work with them, they're going to find it in other avenues. So, you know, the guys who want to invest, want to be good, they want to be able to work with their coaches. Anything we can make, any steps to continue to do that, are very much positives in my book.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you so much for your time.

CHRIS COLLINS: Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297