Amid the excitement of the Chicago Bulls breaking the Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak, there was excitement of a different kind from the Duke alums inside the team locker room at the United Center.
When told by Outside Shot that former Blue Devil and Glenbrook North standout Chris Collins had formally accepted the job to be the next head coach at Northwestern University, both Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer were ecstatic.
“Yes! I’m so happy,” Deng said. “Chris recruited me [to come to Duke] and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He’s a great guy. He talks to me throughout the whole season and I’m glad he’s closer now. I’m really happy for him.”
Said Boozer, “I’m happy for him, man. He’s a good coach and he’s obviously been under a phenomenal coach for a long time in Coach K. He has a great pedigree with him, and I’ll tell you one thing, his standard of winning is going to be very high because of where he’s coming from and that’s exactly what Northwestern is going to need.”
Collins, whose father is current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins, has a great track record in the game of basketball. He was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois, was a McDonald’s All-American and was the first player from Glenbrook North to ever play Division I basketball.
Both Boozer and Deng have no doubts that Collins will be successful at Northwestern and finally get the Wildcats into the NCAA Tournament.
“I believe in anyone who’s coming out of the Duke system,” said Deng. “Coach K is an unbelievable coach and a lot of coaches that have left that program have done well and have been really successful in other places.”
“Chris Collins knows how to win,” offered Boozer. “Being under Coach K, he’s going to be able to give insight to his team on how to get [to the tournament] and he’s going to take that program to another level. He’s a great person. He’s been a good friend for a long time and I’m happy for him. He’s coming home.”
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