The future is now for Northwestern basketball.
The ‘Cats will bring in arguably their most talented recruiting class ever this year, with many new faces expected to play a big role in (hopefully) ending the program’s record-breaking NCAA tournament drought. I talked with freshman forward Vic Law and freshmen guards Johnnie Vassar and Bryant McIntosh about what brought them to Northwestern, what their goals are for this season and where they’d like to see the program go from here.
What makes this season a success for you individually?
LAW: I think what Coach Collins brought me in to do is just affect the game in many different ways and ultimately just help the team win. If I can make the four players out on the floor better around me, then I think I’m doing a good job.
VASSAR: Individually, I would say just going out and giving it my all and making an impact in some kind of way to help the team win.
How about as a team?
MCINTOSH: We are really young, so the young guys are going to have to make an impact in order for us to be successful because we have so many of them.
VASSAR: As a team, I would say just coming out and making a stand in the Big Ten.
You’re part of a pretty large freshman class on this team. Has that made the transition to Northwestern and DI college basketball a little easier?
VASSAR: Definitely, because we’ve worked together, we’ve been with each other since the summer and we’ve talked before that, when we all were committed. We just have a really good bond to help us through the [tough] times of our freshman year.
LAW: All of us are really close, so the support system that we all have and the chemistry that we all share is really good. Transitioning from high school to college you’ve always got to build relationships as teammates and players.
MCINTOSH: You have guys that can relate to you and all the things you’re going through.
When you first met the guys this summer was their an instant connection or did that take a while to develop?
VASSAR: A few of the guys I’d met before just in the Chicago-area. Vic, [freshman guard] Scottie [Lindsey] and I met Bryant on a visit. So we’d all seen each other before and met, but as far as like actually hanging out, the first time in the summer I think we clicked automatically. We’ve developed a great relationship.
LAW: After we all knew that we had all committed to Northwestern, we really got to know each other and started hanging out as we came up here. We were friends before we even got to Northwestern.
As you guys get into the early part of your schedule and those first few non-conference games, what are your goals right at the onset of the season?
LAW: [We’ve got] to get off to really a good start in the beginning. Last year, I think we got tripped up at the start of the season. In non-conference, we lost some gimme-games that really could have affected us down the stretch. Now we just really want to get off to good start and start the year strong.
When you guys meet potential recruits next year and talk about the basketball program here at Northwestern, what’s your pitch going to be?
MCINTOSH: Hopefully, we can just try and show them the success we had while being young. Coach Collins isn’t afraid to play young guys and we were successful when we did it. We’re really serious about wanting to turn this around and win.