Bluiett and Collins form crucial bond

Northwestern is amping up its recruitment of 2014 four-star shooting guard Trevon Bluiett.

MINNEAPOLIS— We last spoke with Trevon Bluiett three weeks ago. Northwestern had offered the day before, and the four-star shooting guard expressed his excitement.

That hasn't diminished at all. If anything, due to frequent communication with Chris Collins, Bluiett is even more encouraged about the direction of this basketball program.

At first, it seemed like academics would be the distinguishing factor. On Saturday in Minneapolis, the Park Tudor HS (Ind.) standout said that Collins himself might be the most important quality of his NU recruitment.

"With Chris Collins coming in, it doesn't get any better than him," Bluiett said.

You don't hear that every day. He holds offers from coaches such as Billy Donovan (Florida) and John Beilein (Michigan). Both have advanced to Final Fours and found consistent postseason success.

Despite this, Bluiett considers Collins to have the finest résumé out there. The major factor: His impressive background. Recruits earned obvious respect for the Duke program—where Collins served as an assistant coach. Most importantly, though, Collins talks about the influence of his father, Doug.

"He has all of the keys and all of the ideas from an NBA-level head coach," Bluiett said. "That always helps."

As someone who clearly admires the game, the Spiece Indy Heat star can appreciate the value of these "ideas." With Jaquan Lyle absent from the Minneapolis stage of the EYBL circuit, Bluiett moved over to the point guard position.

The Family (Mich.) attempted to throw difficult zone looks his way. Bluiett never flinched, and despite missing seven of his 11 field-goal attempts, he racked up a game-high 11 assists. Bottom line: He's good and understands the game.

In the 16 total games of the EYBL circuit (which is among the most prestigious AAU tournaments) Bluiett has averaged 18 points per game on 49 percent shooting—including a 43 percent clip from behind the arc. His adjustment to the point guard spot slowed down his stroke, but he eased Spiece to a 78-65 victory.

"I've been used to playing the point throughout high school," Bluiett said. "It was nothing new—I'm just playing with more elite guys. That made it tougher. I was trying to get back in the swing of things, and get my team the win."

Bluiett said he and Collins text "often." Though other schools have backed off, the NU coaching staff continues to aggressively recruit him.

We can get into the risks of devoting attention to top-level prospects another time. The reality is this: Collins, Tavaras Hardy and Pat Baldwin are challenging themselves to find immediate success. They just want an opportunity.

So, I asked Trevon, is there a chance?

"Yeah," he said, "There is."

For now, that's all fans really need.

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