Josh and I (and a couple other media members) got the opportunity to meet with Chris Collins today to discuss the offseason and what his outlook is heading into next year. We'll have some longer stories later, but here are some notes on each of the freshmen and some other general notes about next season.
"Vic is an elite athlete," Collins said. "One of the best things Law does is get a defensive rebound and lead the break."
Law can guard the 1-4 positions and could be All-Big Ten defensive team sooner rather than later. Collins also called Drew Crawford more of a scorer, while Law is an all-around player. He said Law isn't a go-to scorer. However, he'll play a "key role" right away.
"He'll allow us to play a little bit more in pick-and-rolls," Collins said. McIntosh will be at least a "rotational guy" right away and he's a good scorer. He has the ability to play point guard, and he could potentially end up starting this year.
"Skelly has a Big Ten-ready body," Collins said. "He's very athletic: 6-8, 225, above-the-rim guy."
Collins praised Skelly's physicality more than any of the other freshmen, and that — combined with the fact that NU simply doesn't have a lot of bigs — could help him see the floor early.
Early word out of practice was that Lindsey was playing well, but he's really skinny and only played in eight high school games last year due to injury. He might not play a huge role early in the season if he can't adapt to the physicality and the speed of the college game.
However, Collins said he has great upside, and "to me he is a scorer, and that's something we need."
Collins described Vassar the way he's described by everyone else — different. He's different than anyone NU has ever had, which is why the Wildcats went after him for their last spot in the class, and he can speed up the game in a way nobody on the team could last year. "He's an explosive kid," Collins said. "He's strong. Just a great on-ball defender."
- Alex Olah and JerShon Cobb looked like the only clear starters.
- "We had one pitch we could throw at you and hopefully that pitch was working that night." Now they can do different things.
- Collins "loves" Demps in the coming-off-the-bench role, but he could start if they need him to.
- Collins said it's on his bucket list to sing one song at Soldier Field, the United Center or Ravinia. He likes "the more melo stuff," even though he listens to some rap and his kids make him listen to top 40 songs.
- While he wasn't going to judge Welsh-Ryan when he saw it for the first time, Collins noted that "we needed to upgrade."
- Collins said he likes "the home-court advantage we can create in Welsh-Ryan." He said there need to be upgrades, but NU doesn't necessarily need a new arena. He likes old-school gyms.
- On having the resources to succeed at NU: "Maybe that's me being naive, but I can only go by what I've seen since I've been here ... and I've been given everything I need to be successful."
- Collins says he "remains friendly" with all the guys who have left the program.
- Collins said the Big Ten season is taxing, and going to the West Coast twice "took a lot out of our guys." He said he'd rather be "closer to home" and thinks this year's game against Butler is a good game. He said this year's easy non-conference was done by design, and I'd expect that until the program gets better. But once it reaches that point? "I'd like to get to the point where, if we get better, we could play in some neutral-site games."
- More on the non-conference schedule: "You have seven Big Ten wins, you should be in something (in the postseason). We hurt ourselves in the non-conference."
- Collins said Alex Olah needs to be a better rebounder and a "double-figure guy" as a scorer. He also said Sanjay Lumpkin needs to be an all-around better shooter.