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Northwestern men’s basketball player previews: F Vic Law

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Law returns as one of the best defenders in the conference.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Minnesota Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Who he is:

Senior; forward; 6-foot-7; 205 pounds; South Holland, Ill.; former four-star recruit

Stats:

12 points per game; 31.6 minutes; 5.8 rebounds; 2.2 assists; .418 FG%, .383 3FG%, .824 FT%

2017-2018 review:

Law’s numbers last season were about where they were a season earlier, which is generally to be expected for a fourth-year player (playing in his third collegiate season). Law was slightly more efficient overall, but slightly worse from three. He was still one of the best defenders in the Big Ten and really all of college basketball. He routinely locked up opponents’ best perimeter scorers, and he even had some dominant offensive games, making five or more three-pointers on three occasions. Still, Law wasn’t always a go-to guy offensively, which is the next step in his game.

Strengths:

Defense, defense, defense. Law is a long 6-foot-7, and he’s a premier athlete on the wing. He’s big enough to challenge bigger wings, but quick enough to bump down and guard point guards much shorter than him. He’s an elite defensive stopper, and that’s on the glass too. Law’s athleticism allows him to sky for key rebounds in the lane on both ends of the floor.

Offensively, Law can shoot the ball well. He’s streaky, but when he’s hot, he’s hot. Last season’s Creighton game is a prime example. He’s improved his ability to create his own shot throughout his career and he can work in the post against smaller players.

Weaknesses:

If Law can improve his handle and ability to get to the rim off the dribble this season, it would give head coach Chris Collins a much more diverse offense with the playmaking it needs. The jury’s still out there.

Expectations:

Law had surgery to improve his lung capacity this offseason, which could be huge for his stamina and general strength. Chris Collins says he’s keeping weight on easier after the surgery, and he doesn’t get tired as quickly. That bodes really well for Law’s final campaign in Evanston, when he’ll be needed as a leader on the team.

We generally know what we’re going to get from Law, and he could be an all-conference candidate by the end of the season, but his consistency will ultimately determine how good he — and maybe even Northwestern — will be this season.