This happened suddenly and unexpectedly, bringing Northwestern basketball momentum to an abrupt halt. Now, with so much before him, Chris Collins will need to find another assistant capable of helping to rebuild this program.
The consequences are brutal and obvious. It affects recruiting operations. It disrupts the coaching staff, which was attempting to build chemistry and to create a united vision for the program. Most importantly, Tavaras was a good and well-respected coach. They'll miss him.
But here's the ultimate takeaway: Tavaras Hardy leaves Northwestern a true homegrown success story. That's something all fans can appreciate. Georgetown coach John Thompson III found an exciting young face to join his staff, and no parties should be blamed for the career move.
Hardy, wherever he goes, will positively reflect NU basketball. Fred Hill should find success at Seton Hall, but he had previous head coaching experience. Hardy has only known NU, and that was enough to make him an attractive candidate.
Hardy was the three-time MVP as a player. He stood on the sidelines in Evanston for seven straight years, embracing this opportunity and this program like none other. He was the best recruiter here, and now joins a GU staff that leaves something to be desired on the trail.
He overcame those academic obstacles we tend to loathe, and still earned respect for his ability to recruit in Chicago and its suburbs. He attempted to create the model for how to find success here, as he scanned the suburbs and discovered the "right fit" better than just about anyone.
Hardy deserves the credit and the congratulations. It's an incredible chance. As he told Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, this gives him the "opportunity to compete for a national championship." It's not everyday someone associated with NU basketball will get to experience that.
Now, all is not lost. As we know, Collins focused on Chicago recruiting ties at Duke. Hardy introduced the new head coach to many important recruits–including Reid Travis–and let him build relationships. That shouldn't be dismissed; he made the transition happen. Hardy let Collins make his pitch and leaves as a proud representative of the program.
The ownership also falls on Patrick Baldwin, Brian James and the lucky third guy to pick up the slack. They in all likelihood will succeed. The staff will be busier, yes, but this provides an opportunity for assistants to create their own legacy—sort of like Tavaras did.
It's also the right time for this split, if there ever was one. Hardy leaving now is significantly better than Hardy leaving in one or two seasons.
In that situation, you run the distinct risk of signing commits and losing them. This way, there will be continuity, and Chris Collins has the ability to sign players. It might take more than the 2014 to class to make a statement, but that will happen eventually.
It's an unfortunate blow to the Wildcats, but one they can overcome. Hardy leaves Evanston proud of this team, and in the end, we should reciprocate that very pride.