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Chris Collins season opening press conference notes

Folks, basketball is back.

Today was the first time the media got to speak to Chris Collins and the Northwestern men’s basketball team. Fresh off Northwestern’s first NCAA Tournament appearance and a solid summer of recruiting, Collins was excited for Northwestern’s upcoming season.


  • “Obviously waking up this morning, sports was the last thing on my mind when I saw the news in Las Vegas. Thoughts and prayers...”
  • “All of our guys came back healthy (knock on wood).”
  • On winning the NCAA Tournament: “If you don’t think about winning the NCAA Tournament you probably shouldn’t be doing it. For us, we’ve been here four years now, we’ve gotten better each year now. We haven’t won a championship, and there are various ways you can win a championship.”
  • Collins says winning championships starts with the 2017 Hall of Fame Tip-Off. He has “lofty goals” for the upcoming season.
  • “It’s going to be the most condensed, intense, conference schedule that any of us have ever had.”
  • Northwestern is playing Georgia Tech, Purdue, and Illinois in a six-day stretch this season. Stressed the importance of preseason training for this.
  • On the FBI scandal: “I’ve been part of college basketball for a long time...upwards of 20 years in this,” he said. “You never like to see any of that happen, not only for the game, but also for the individuals. It’s unfortunate. Of course I’d like it to be cleaned up. I feel lucky, I’ve always chosen to be in situations where things are done the right way. For me, I’m a little bit naive because I choose to not be in that world. With them trying to crack down, I’m all for that.”
  • “We try to recruit the right guys here. We're fully compliant.”
  • Replacing Sanjay Lumpkin: “I think it’s up for grabs. I want a lot of guys to have a starter’s mentality. For four years, he was the guy at that spot. He was the glue guy. I don’t think anybody on this team will replicate what he did.”
  • Mentioned Gavin Skelly as a possible key guy, Aaron Falzon and his shooting ability, Rapolas Ivanauskas, rolling with Benson and Pardon as a two-big lineup. Basically just mentioned every single possible option.
  • “It [making the Tournament] was a national story, which was a big reason why they [recruits] came here.”
  • “The end game for us is to be a nationally relevant program year in and year out. This is a place where you can have it all now, go to a great city, go to a great school, play high-level basketball, get a great degree. I am noticing a difference when I talk to those coaches/players across the country.”
  • On Allstate Arena: “We haven’t gone as a team, we’ve gone as a staff, just as a logistic thing, how to get out there, locker room staff. We’re planning on making a handful of trips out there over the next 30 days, based on their availability. We’re gonna have an event out in October, an inter-squad scrimmage, just to go how it’s like on game day. I’ve picked the brain of some of the DePaul staff, how they handled it.”
  • “I think it’s like Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come...At the end of the day if you’re a good team, I believe that it’ll become a great environment. That’s what we did at Welsh-Ryan last year, you saw it. Those crowds were as good as anything I’ve seen in the country.”
  • “It's going to be a Northwestern setting. It's been a good partnership so far."
  • “I think Vic is a huge key for us, I’d like to see him expand his offensive game,” Collins said. “I think he should be a guy who should be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year in this league. I'd like to see [Vic] expand his offensive game...I've said all along, when he plays well, he's a stat sheet stuffer."
  • On Blomquist: “When you guys see it, it’s actually pretty good. You really don’t know what that temporary is going to be like. Are you going to be in trailers? Are you going to be practicing in high schools? They’ve done a fantastic job at Blomquist, they’ve put in a new floor, renovated the whole space. From a practice perspective, it’s fine. We have what we need. The main thing will be the logistics to games, having to bus out to games, not having it here on campus, and we’ll just have to get used to that.
  • Collins said he has a nice office space and other things. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”
  • Ivanauskas’ return: “When you don’t play a whole season, I call it game rust. You see it sometimes with a kid who’s transferred and sat out. You gotta get your game legs back underneath you.”
  • Isiah Brown: “efficiency wise, he’s gotta improve. I don’t want to rob him of his aggressive nature, but that being said, to incorporate that in the way we’re doing things as a team and to be a little more efficient as a sophomore. I think he’s got a better feel of what he needs to do.