With basketball season coming soon, NBN Sports took its talents to Nicolet Football Center and … Blom (yes, that Blom) to talk with players and coaches for the first time. Here are our favorite quotes from coach Chris Collins (some may not be entirely in context).
Jono Zarilli: “If You Build It, They Will Come”
Collins effectively summed up concerns over how playing in Allstate Arena could affect the team with this classic Field of Dreams quote: it doesn’t matter. Sure, more time than usual has gone into logistics – bringing players and students to the games, getting “as much purple as possible” into the area, settling into a new practice schedule – but it remains true that if you win basketball games, everything will sort itself out. This is a top 25 basketball team, or close to it, playing in (or near) the third biggest market in the country, and the atmosphere will reflect that if the team takes care of business on the court.
Meg Pisarczyk: “They’ve done a fantastic job with Blomquist. We’ve renovated that space, we’ve put a whole new floor in there, we’ve branded it to make it our own … From a practice perspective … it’s fine. We have what we need.”
First of all, the words “fantastic” and “Blomquist” should never be used in the same sentence. Blom is the closest gym to where I live, yet I drag myself all the way to SPAC just to run on a treadmill because Blom feels like a prison. Sure, they’ve painted the walls and hung player banners to make it feel more like a practice facility, but I’m pretty sure the guys are all thinking “I did not sign up to play here.” Collins is obviously just trying to stay positive during a time of transition, but let’s make something clear: Blom is the worst, and it’s slightly embarrassing that these are the facilities the team is using while trying to become nationally relevant.
Duncan Agnew: “If you don’t think about winning the NCAA Tournament, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”
Collins doesn’t waste any time cutting to the core of this issue. While some college players and coaches may be in it for the improper benefits or the money (see Andy’s favorite quote below), the Wildcats are here to win, and no goal is too lofty. Not only will Northwestern make it back to the big dance when March rolls around, but don’t be surprised if you see Bryant McIntosh clutching the championship trophy as confetti rains down and “One Shining Moment” sweetly rings from the arena speakers. Mark your calendars for the evening of Monday, April 2 – I would suggest booking your ticket to San Antonio as soon as possible (also please knock on wood like 5,000 times).
Trevor Lystad: “My main thing with this team is how hungry are they gonna be to want more.”
Presumably, the team came from a big meal. Collins mentioned hunger and needing to want more and more food a number of times, so he must be concerned. It’s true that hunger is key to victory – last year, UNC was reportedly one of the hungriest teams in NCAA history. Still, Collins’s focus on hunger was telling: he expects a lot more of it out of this team. Sargent dining hall has reportedly stepped up its game this year, so hopefully that will be enough for these hungry student-athletes.
Andy Brown: Collins on recent NCAA scandal: "I’m a little bit naive because I choose not to be in that world."
*Deeply inhales, summoning the powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart, wrath of Poseidon and stench of Willie the Wildcat's suit*
*Slowly lowers both hands pressed together, fingers straightened in a chopping motion that could cut through kevlar*
*Forcefully exhales with a thunder-esque vengeance, that echoes through the corridors like the gust of a thousand winds*