WBEZ | Chris Colins http://www.wbez.org/tags/chris-colins Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is Chris Collins a 'perfect fit' for Northwestern basketball? Maybe. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chris-collins-perfect-fit-northwestern-basketball-maybe-106437 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chris%20collins%20small.jpg" style="height: 443px; width: 620px;" title="Can Chris Collins finally take NU to the NCAA tournament? (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p>Will Chris Collins be the answer to Northwestern University&#39;s beleaguered men&#39;s basketball program&#39;s prayers?</p><p>The Chicago area was a big part of the new Wildcats coach&#39;s life growing up. When his dad, Doug, was the Chicago Bulls&#39; head coach, Chris was a ball boy for the team.</p><p>Then, the younger Collins was named Illinois &quot;Mr. Basketball&quot; while playing hoops at Glenbrook North High School. He played collegiate ball at Duke, then worked as an assistant at Seton Hall before serving as a member of Coach Mike Krzyzewski&rsquo;s Blue Devils staff the last 13 years.</p><p>The 38-year-old Collins reportedly inked a seven-year deal with Northwestern, saying this challenge is &quot;a perfect fit&quot; for him and the school.</p><p>We&#39;ll have plenty of time to find out whether he&#39;s right. Here&#39;s what he has working in his favor:</p><ul><li><strong>Collins understands the academic dynamics of college ball</strong>, because Duke has been able to recruit players that also have strong academic backgrounds. A perfect example is Simeon&#39;s Jabari Parker: The student-athlete is best player in the country and is headed for Duke.&nbsp;</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Collins knows the Chicago prep school scene</strong>. You never know:&nbsp;Maybe Parker could have ended up at Northwestern if Collins had taken the job sooner. But this is where the new coach must make his mark.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>He has some pretty stellar sounding boards</strong> in Coach K and his dad. Doug Collins is busy coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, but the father and son are still close, and the elder Collins is a fount of knowledge.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>He&#39;s in good company at Northwestern.</strong> The success that head coach Pat Fitzgerald is having with the football program is a huge plus for the future of the school&#39;s athletics program.</li></ul><p>Still, that doesn&#39;t mean that Collin&#39;s won&#39;t face roadblocks at Northwestern:</p><ul><li><strong>The Big Ten Conference is a huge challenge.</strong> Collins will be competing in one of the best and toughest conferences in the country. It will be the games, as well as the recruiting, that test his mettle.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>The Wildcats have never been to an NCAA tournament.</strong>&nbsp;Collins must convince some of the &quot;blue chip&quot; players that they have an opportunity to succeed with him.<strong> </strong>That stage is very important to a high school player when he&#39;s deciding on his college choice.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Recruitment. </strong>Collins mus find players who proved their acumen for high school academic &ndash; and who can also shoot a jump shot.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>The Northwestern basketball facilities need to be upgraded</strong>, as the school just did for its football program.<br />&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Collins needs to fill out his coaching staff.&nbsp;</strong></li></ul><p>None of this will be easy, but this hire makes the Wildcats basketball program one to watch from now on.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and on Facebook at<a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"> Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chris-collins-perfect-fit-northwestern-basketball-maybe-106437