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Players and coaches weigh in on Chris Collins to Northwestern

After announcing Chris Collins as the new head coach of Northwestern men’s basketball, athletic director Jim Phillips said, “He has a tremendous pedigree as a basketball coach and will be an outstanding leader for Chicago’s Big Ten team.”

Obviously, Phillips has high praise for his new hire, but many others have kind words for Collins as well. Several current Duke players also weighed in on the topic:

Quinn Cook, sophomore guard: “He has put in the time. He deserves a head-coaching job at a big-time school and I’m sure he’s ready for it.”
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Alex Murphy, freshman forward: “He’ll give it to you straight whether it’s what you want to hear or not, and that’s something that’s real important in a relationship.”
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Amile Jefferson, freshman forward: “It’s like having a guy who has been through Coach K’s system who is helping mold the younger guys and teach us. He’s an amazing coach.”
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Mason Plumlee, senior forward: “He has had the experience. He’s been around great coaches his whole life. I think he’s going to fit into that mold very well.”
Source: The (Duke) Chronicle

Former Duke players whom Collins coached also shared their thoughts.

Shane Battier, 1997-2001: “He’ll do great! I’m really excited for him and NU!” (via Twitter)

Carlos Boozer, 1999-2002: “Chris Collins knows how to win. Being under Coach K, he’s going to be able to give insight on how to get [to the NCAA Tournament] and he’s going to take that program to another level.”
Source: NBC Chicago

Luol Deng, 2003-04: “I believe in anyone who’s coming out of the Duke system. Coach K is an unbelievable coach and a lot of coaches that have left that program have done well and have been really successful in other places.”
Source: NBC Chicago

J.J. Redick, 2002-06: “Congratulations to my great friend, groomsman, and coach- [Coach Collins]! Northwestern got a great one! #dukefamily”
“On a side note- I was [Coach Collins’s] very first recruit at Duke. I was an easy sell but I still made him work for my commitment!” (via Twitter)

Jon Scheyer, 2006-10: “Nobody has recruited Chicago better than he has.”
Source: The (Duke) Chronicle

Jay Williams, 1999-2002: “Congrats to my man Chris Collins. Northwestern will hire him to be the next head coach. #GreatHire” (via Twitter)

Along with the players, a few Duke colleagues gave words of support. Former teammate and fellow assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski tweeted, “Could not be happier for [Collins]! He is a great friend, coach, & has an amazing family. Can’t wait to watch all his success at NU!”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski added, “He’s got a great basketball mind, a competitive personality, a team guy. A great guy. He’s a great basketball guy, too. Anybody who would get one of my guys would be getting someone pretty special” (via News-Record.com).

Of course, the kind words weren’t limited to just fellow Blue Devils. Although Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was upset with the firing of Bill Carmody, he congratulated Collins, saying, “Chris has gotten tutelage from, arguably, the best. And when you look at the schools, as far as academically and all that, there are a lot of similarities. And I think Chris is a great fit. It’s going to be fun to have him in the Big Ten” (via Chicago Sun-Times).

Northwestern fans and faculty alike have already shown an outpouring of support as well. Shortly after the hiring, Pat Fitzgerald also took to Twitter, saying, “welcome to the WILDCAT FAMILY! GO CATS #B1GCATS”.

And lastly, but also most importantly, Collins’s move garnered the support of his father, longtime NBA head coach Doug Collins.

“He’s at the stage of his career where he’s ready to be a head coach,” Collins said. “Last year, there were a couple situations that opened up that he was interested in. He’s ready to do that. I think he’s going to be a terrific coach” (via Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia).

Clearly, Collins is well-respected, which means that much will be expected of him in the coming years. His time at Duke hasn’t come to a close yet, but when it does, he will have a lot of business to get to, namely finding a staff and building relationships with the players and recruits that could help bring the program to places that it hasn’t yet seen.