Best of the Presser

In this Purple Wildcats Insider update, Steven Goldstein breaks down some major quotations from the half-hour press conference.

With cameras rolling and microphones passing, newly-inked head coach Chris Collins spoke to Wildcat media Tuesday, touching on immediate and long-time goals, recruiting in Chicago and the facilities at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Here's what stood out from a busy day for the basketball program:

On his connection to Chicago:

"This is home for me, no matter where my trails and travels went...Chicago was my home." Collins noted that the opportunity to raise his kids in the Windy City is a "slam dunk," while dubbing Chicago as the "best sports city in the world."

On his first head coaching opportunity:

"It's a dream come true for me. I had an opportunity to be at Duke for a long time. It's a special place and I feel it's prepared me to lead this program here to new heights." Collins stressed a "family atmosphere" for Northwestern basketball, and said, "I love coaching. I love being on the college level, where you can have an impact on these guys' lives."

On long-term expectations for the Cats:

"You all may talk about going to the NCAA Tournament...sure, that's going to be a great milestone when we get there, but my goal is to build a top-notch basketball program. It's exciting for me to put my imprint on this school." Collins called the beginning of his career at Northwestern "a new beginning," adding, "We're going to build a winner. I'm confident, I'm excited, but I also know it takes work...I'm in it for the long haul."

On his experience at Duke:

"I had an opportunity to be at Duke for a long time. It's a special place and I feel it's prepared me to lead this program here to new heights." Collins said that at Duke, every game had a "Super Bowl" atmosphere, complete with "hostile crowds and motivated teams."

On working under coach Mike Krzyzewski:

"It's amazing being around Coach K. Here's a guy who's accomplished everything you can possibly accomplish...But no matter what you learn from who your mentors are, you have to be yourself and you have to coach in your own style and follow your own instincts. That's what I plan to do." Collins noted that despite Krzyzewksi's decorated career, he still spent summers taking notes on other basketball coaches, from Jim Boeheim to Mike D'Antoni.

On Welsh-Ryan Arena and Northwestern's athletic facilities:

"My goal is to make Welsh-Ryan the best home court advantage in the Big Ten, and it's not gonna be easy. We've gotta put a product on the floor that people will get excited about." Collins said. "The last time I was in Welsh-Ryan, this is not a joke, was 1992," he laughed. "It was an unbelievable atmosphere. I know there's been a lot of talk about what we don't have and what we need. Let's make this a heck of a home-court advantage. Let's get everyone in the building and let's get everyone in purple. Let's see what it's like to get 8,000 people going crazy."

On the system he'll work with next year:

"You should tailor what you do based on your personnel...As we get into the fall and we realize who our team's going to be, I'll create a system that I feel will benefit the pieces we have." Collins doesn't believe in a "strict system," and said that he wants his first-option scorers being the centerpiece of his offense.

- On recruiting at Northwestern:

"When I look at this situation, I think Northwestern has a lot to sell...you automatically think of well-rounded excellence." Collins hopes to tap into Chicago and encourage players to "stay home," but said that he'll be branching all over the country. "We intend to look everywhere and find those guys who can take our program to the next level." Collins said that April is a particularly big month for recruiting, emphasizing the ability to "get in the homes, get in the schools" as soon as possible.

On his father Doug Collins:

"We talk daily. What's been great about the fact that I've gotten older is that it's give-and-take." Collins noted a very positive and involved relationship with his father. "My parents have been supportive of me my whole life, and that's not gonna change today. They all have purple on," he smiled. "Whether or not he's on the staff or not, he's gonna be a part of it, that's how he is."

On entering a new culture:

"When I went to Glenbrook North, they hadn't done anything in basketball. We started a culture there and it became one of the best basketball programs on the North Shore and it still is today." Collins mentioned adversity he went through in his junior season at Duke, and stressed patience throughout the process of joining Northwestern. "I'm not afraid of the work that needs to be done. I know it takes time. I'm ultra-competitive, I'm passionate about what I do."


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