It's hard to believe Vic Law is only a freshman.
Maybe it's his 6-foot-8 frame. Maybe it's the stubble on his cheeks. Or maybe it's the cool confidence that he protrudes when he speaks.
He's a man that's been told how good he is for years. He's been labeled by his coach as this program's Johnny Dawkins, a player who has the potential to singlehandedly elevate Northwestern basketball to heights it hasn't seen in its 110-year history.
It would be all too easy for Law to think quite ambitiously, to have visions of extraordinary grandeur. Dreams of Big Ten Freshman of the Year, of dropping 25 in an upset win over Michigan, of hearing his name called in the NBA Draft one day.
Yet Law doesn't allow himself to think that big. Nope. For him, it's one day at a time. Always has been, always will be.
"You just take it one day at a time," he says. "Do everything you can to win. At the end of the season, when it's all said and done, you just hope you did all you could, that you left it all on the floor. You don't want to say 'I was too tired to do everything I could.' Take it one step at a time."
Those days consist of class in the morning, than basketball in the afternoon. Rest, and repeat. It's a difficult adjustment; the lack of free time college athletes have can be a shock to their systems. Non-athletes at Northwestern are stressed in their own right.
But not Law.
"School hasn't been that bad," he says confidently. "Coming here, you have to be a good student. So it hasn't been too bad, organizing my priorities. Classes are pretty easy."
Law's excited for what's ahead. He's confident in this team's potential, and confident in his ability to show just how good, how versatile he really is. And he's powerfully thankful that he'll be doing it so close to home.
"I was talking to some of my friends who went away to college, and they had a really rough opening games," he said.
That's normal for college freshman getting used to the speed of college basketball. But Law makes a point to reinforce how comforting it is to be able to go home, especially when it's not going your way on the court.
"When you have a bad game and you're far away, five or six hours from home and you only get that phone call. It's not as genuine and not as much as you need. It was really important for me to stay home, because when I do have a bad game or slip up at times, I'll always have my mom and dad to comfort me, to tell what I need to work on to get better."
Don't think he's not excited for road trips, though. The Big Ten was one of the main reasons Law chose Northwestern.
"I think it's really cool, being able to play the Michigans, the Indianas, the Georgia Techs. It's a different experience. I'm looking forward to everything."
Law's family is effusively proud of him, and rightfully so. When asked how many family members will be in Welsh-Ryan at home games, Law cracks a smile and searches for the right way to accurately convey the amount of support he'll get.
He ponders for about ten seconds, then settles for "there will be enough Law in the gym."
And the team that the numerous members of the Law family will cheer on is a team with a unique dynamic. Five freshman, four of which will be key contributors. But there's also experience, seniors who have been around since the Bill Carmody era that now feels so long ago. It's an interesting scenario, 18-year old boys competing with 22-year old men for a portion of 200 precious minutes.
Law, however, is enjoying every second of it. But he's quick to note that he doesn't feel entitled to anything, especially not playing time.
"I love competition. It's been great every day in practice. The five players who can help you are the five that's going to play."
That's been proven by coach Chris Collins, at least so far. Freshmen are seeing heavy minutes, and players that have been around the program for years are rightfully worried about losing minutes to this group of talented young men. But if one of the older guys steps up and takes some of his playing time, Law maintains that he won't be upset in the slightest.
"If I'm playing bad, I don't think I deserve to be out there. If someone's playing well, someone's rolling, you keep them out there. You give them the ball. Like coach Collins has said, we have a team where everyone can help us, so I think whoever's hot or doing well, they need to be out there."
When asked what this team's ceiling is, Law says just enough to show that he's done his homework when it comes to Northwestern basketball. This team is determined not to disappoint like so, so many NU basketball teams have done in the past.
"Our ceiling is whatever we make of it," he says. "In past years, teams have underachieved for whatever reason. But this year, we're taking it one game at a time."
With two games under his belt, Law feels ready to go. And that's probably bad news for the 'Cats' future opponents, because a player with Vic Law's body and basketball IQ and confidence is not someone you want to play against.
"All the nerves are out. It's time for me to really step up."
That's not usually the job of a kid in his first quarter of college. But it's the role Law knew he was getting at Northwestern — and he doesn't mind it at all.