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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Despite spotty track record of Duke assistants, Chris Collins may be good fit at Northwestern

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Chris Collins (center) (Getty Images)

One of the few holes in Mike Krzyzewski's unparalleled résumé is that he hasn't molded too many star coaches.

Mike Brey has enjoyed success at Notre Dame and Tommy Amaker has revived his career at Harvard after flopping spectacularly at Michigan, but overall Krzyzewski's coaching tree has a surprising number of withered branches.

Quin Snyder resigned at Missouri in 2006 amid rampant NCAA issues. Jeff Capel rode Blake Griffin to the Elite Eight before getting fired at Oklahoma after back-to-back 18-loss seasons. Johnny Dawkins' athletic director has already said he must make the NCAA tournament next season to keep his job after missing the field of 68 his first five years at Stanford.

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The spotty track record of former Krzyzewski assistants is about the only downside to Northwestern targeting current Duke aide Chris Collins as its next head coach. There are conflicting reports regarding whether Northwestern will announce the hire of Collins this week or wait until after Duke is eliminated from the NCAA tournament, but by all accounts they've chosen him as the guy to replace Bill Carmody.

It's easy to see why the personable, charismatic Collins would be a very good fit for Northwestern based on his background.

He hails from Illinois and has enjoyed success as an assistant recruiting Chicago, an area vital to Northwestern yet one where the program has long struggled. He has dealt with high academic standards recruiting at Duke, so he should have no problem with similar restraints at Northwestern. And between being the son of well-respected NBA coach Doug Collins and playing and coaching under Krzyzewski, Collins also has two great basketball minds at his disposal.

The other advantage Collins has is standards aren't exactly high at Northwestern, the lone power conference school never to make an NCAA tournament. If Collins can be the coach who finally breaks that streak, he'll have job security for a long time afterward.

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Of course, none of that guarantees he'll have greater success than his former Duke peers, but it does show why his hire is a coup for Northwestern. Look past the history of Duke assistants, and he's an ideal fit.

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