Big Ten

Who's Northwestern's best shooter? Chris Collins says he is

Who's Northwestern's best shooter? Chris Collins says he is

"The best shooter on the team right now, you included, is who?"

Dan Patrick set Northwestern head coach Chris Collins up for a little self-promotion during an interview Monday on "The Dan Patrick Show," and Collins took full opportunity.

"Me," he said.

The head coach of the tournament-bound Wildcats was not too long ago a sharpshooter at Duke. And though he admitted to not being able to play much anymore, Collins fully recognized that he's still got the shooting touch, a better one in fact than any of his current players.

"Look, I have a thing in my family, and my kids and my wife get really mad. I always tell them when we compete at home, whoever gets second place in the board game or the competition or the video game actually wins because I always win.

"I always mess with the guys. I never had great foot speed so I can't really play anymore anyway, but I can still outshoot them. Hopefully there'll be a day when some guys on the team can outshoot me. That would mean that we're a pretty good team."

He's got the numbers to back it up, too. During his senior season with the Blue Devils, Collins shot 46.7 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from 3-point range. He'd rank in the top 10 in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage this season.

Patrick focused a great deal on Collins' history at Duke — he did spend four years there as a player and 13 more as an assistant coach — and at one point jabbed him for his lack of defensive intensity as a player.

"How do you teach defense, for somebody who didn't play defense?" Patrick asked, getting some laughter out of Collins.

"That's a good question, I get that often," Collins responded. "I never got in a stance much when I played. My viewpoint of defense was outscoring my man. I felt if I outscored my man, then I played good defense. But it's something that we've had to hang our hat on as we've built our program because quite frankly we hadn't had the firepower, especially in our conference, to match up with the likes of the Wisconsins and Indianas and Michigan States and so on and so forth. So we had to become a hard-nosed defensive team to be able to be competitive. I think it's become part of our identity. Like you said, the people who know me best can't believe we're like a defensive-minded team. But I'm going to keep fooling them while I can."

Whatever he's doing is working for Northwestern. The Cats rank second in the league in scoring defense, holding opponents to 64.9 points a game, and second in field-goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to 39.8-percent shooting.

Check out the full interview below:

Illinois came close to adding Divison I hockey team before coronavirus spread

NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois came close to adding Divison I hockey team before coronavirus spread

After trying to add a Division I men's ice hockey program at the University of Illinois for nearly three years, the school was finally close. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The Chicago Tribune reported Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman told media on Monday that the university was forced to "hit the pause button" on the hopes and dreams of alums, sports fans and young hockey players with midwest ties. 

“Clearly with everything that’s changed here in the last six weeks, it makes sense for us to hit the — at least the short-term — pause button on that project while we wait and let things unfold in the weeks and months ahead,” Whitman said.

According to Whitman, U of I was about a month away from forming the program before the pandemic changed things.

The state of Illinois produces the fourth-most college hockey players but has no Division I hockey team yet. 

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Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.