Hopes might be brighter than they've ever been for Northwestern, but the Wildcats announced a major blow Wednesday.
Sophomore forward Vic Law will miss the entirety of the 2015-16 season, slated for surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
"We're certainly disappointed for Vic," Northwestern head basketball coach Chris Collins said in the announcement. "He dedicated himself and made great progress during this offseason and had a great summer and preseason on the court. I have no doubt that his attitude toward recovery and improvement will be relentless and that he will continue to be a tremendous teammate. We expect a full recovery in four to six months, and Vic remains a foundational piece of our program for the future."
"Making this decision was difficult, but it is absolutely the right one for me and for my team," Law said. "I'm focused on staying positive, working hard and getting back on the court as quickly as possible. I'm excited to contribute to this group from the sidelines, and my teammates know that nobody will be pushing them harder than I will this year."
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The St. Rita product was the highest-rated recruit in recent memory to commit to the Cats, and he had a solid freshman season a year ago. Law played in all 32 games, starting 19 and averaging seven points and 4.8 rebounds per game. During conference games, his 44.2 3-point percentage was the fifth best in the Big Ten.
After hitting a slow patch during much of conference play, Law turned it on near the end of the season, scoring a season-high 17 points and grabbing a season-high 11 rebounds in a win over Penn State. Law had 14 points and eight rebounds in the next game against Indiana, and he had 11 points two games later in a double-overtime win over Michigan.
In the team's final seven games, he was 14-for-24 from behind the 3-point line.
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Law was part of a big freshman class for the Cats last season that included other touted prospects like Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey, among others. This season, the Cats added three more freshmen in Aaron Falzon, Jordan Ash and Derek Pardon. These classes form the recruiting foundation of Collins' program moving forward, but he'll have to wait at least another year until all these players are at full strength.
With a shot at potentially reaching the program's first ever NCAA tournament, Northwestern opens its 2015-16 season Friday against UMass Lowell.