The knock on Chris Collins? He never has been a head coach.
The knock on Bryce Drew? He has been Valparaiso’s top guy just two seasons, and though successful, how hard can it be to win in the Horizon League?
Northwestern intends to interview Collins early next week, and Drew is too logical a target not to draw NU’s interest.
ESPN analyst Bruce Pearl, the former Iowa assistant who won big at Tennessee and Milwaukee in the Horizon League, said he has no doubt that Collins or Drew would thrive at Northwestern.
“Both would be really good gets,” Pearl said. “I would not have made the change (dismissing Bill Carmody) because his system was perfect for that program. But with the way these guys recruit, they would get Northwestern a different kind of player.”
Neither Drew nor Collins was available for comment Wednesday as they prepared their teams for NCAA tournament games.
There is no shortage of accomplished mid-major coaches for Athletic Director Jim Phillips to consider, namely Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen, La Salle’s John Giannini, Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson, Davidson’s Bob McKillop and Lehigh’s Brett Reed.
Paulsen has ties to NU President Morton Schapiro. Giannini was a graduate assistant at Illinois when Phillips was a basketball team manager.
But if Phillips wants to create a “buzz” – and sources close to the search say he does – Drew or Collins would be the bumblebees.
Drew played for the Bulls but is best known for knocking Mississippi out of the 1998 NCAA tournament with “The Shot” – a last-second, 23-footer
By Teddy Greenstein, Tribune reporter
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