Northwestern’s Chris Collins addressed the media at Big Ten Basketball Media day on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Here’s what he had to say:
He started with an opening statement, saying there’s been a lot of continuity with great leadership and a core four.
Collins then addressed his team having to play at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois while the team’s arena undergoes renovations.
Northwestern's "home" games will be 16 miles from campus at Allstate arena, as Welsh-Ryan is renovated.
— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) October 19, 2017
He said his team has practiced there a few times to get used to the gym and the travel and that it’s all about preparations before the season.
“I’m just relying on my older guys to be mature about it and just told them it’s going to be our home,” he said.
“I trust that our fans are going to come out and support us even though we’re going to be 25-30 minutes from campus,” he said.
Collins was asked about his teams accomplishments last year and how to address that this year. He said there’s been a lot of congratulations and for him personally, the NCAA Tournament was a goal but the end goal is to build a program that could be respected year-in and year-out.
He mentioned his senior class has one more year to enhance their legacy.
“Their leadership has been vital. The way they’ve approached the summer. We don’t talk about last year. There’s nothing to talk about. Every team is different. Every year is different,” he said.
“We know what our formula is and our guys know we have to have the same qualities if we want to be successful this year,” Collins said.
Collins said the most pressure they faced last year was at the end of the regular season to get into the tournament.
“To see those guys rise to the occasion under that kind of pressure and do what they had to do to win a big game for us… It was very gratifying as a coach,” he said.
He said to stamp it by playing well in the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament was good to see.
Collins was asked about the protected in-state rivalry with Illinois and the team’s new coach Brad Underwood, saying he will do a great job with the Fighting Illini.
“The coaches in this league are as good as it gets,” he said.
“It’s important for us to play twice every year. It’s a great thing for our state and four our conference,” Collins said.
He then addressed the question of prepping his team in between the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
“I think it’s a great problem to have if you’re still playing after the conference tournament,” he said
But he added that nobody knows if that’ll be the case. If it is, he said he has to understand where his team is at and deal with it that way.
“We’re not talking about that at all because we’re a long way from the end of March. We hope to be in that position,” he said.