“It’s been so hectic,” former Northwestern commit Jaren Sina said on Saturday evening. “The phone never stops buzzing.”
The media waits for his final decision. Coaches are working intensely to seal his commitment. It will only get busier.
Tonight, however, delivered one pleasant surprise. Chris Collins was on the line. In his first informal test as the new head coach, Collins refused to disappoint.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Sina said. “It went really well, actually. We had a lot in common.”
It seems that Collins, even during this busy time for Duke basketball, completed his research. He and Sina bonded over the closeness of their father-son relationships. Collins and his dad, Doug (coach of the Philadelphia 76ers) remain close. Sina’s father, Mergin, coached him throughout his career at Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ).
A focus on relationships takes special importance for Sina. When Bill Carmody was fired after 13 seasons in Evanston, Sina took one step back and asked to be released from his letter of intent. The result: NU, Seton Hall, Alabama and Indiana are just about deadlocked in his recruitment.
Indiana began its pursuit of Sina recently, and one Hoosiers assistant visited his home today. Aside from this single newcomer, the other three names are old faces.
The 3-star guard originally committed to Alabama before changing his mind. Coach Anthony Grant still has interest in bringing Sina to Tuscaloosa. After next week’s imposed “dead period,” Sina plans to visit the school and reconsider.
“I have a good relationship with them,” Sina said. “They’ve been recruiting me the whole time. I think that’s a big thing: having a relationship with the coach.”
Then, Seton Hall boasts an important characteristic. The local school has a clear need at his position, and could provide him with the opportunity to make an immediate impact.
“They’re recruiting me extremely hard,” he said. “For them, they’re really missing that point guard spot. They need me to come and step in.”
But tonight, for Sina, was about bonding with Collins. They spoke for about 40 minutes. In addition to their similar father-son relationships, Sina grew intrigued by other connections. The two expect to play guard at a high-profile school. While Carmody had some playing experience, Collins is on another level.
Collins never recruited him at Duke. But he made an excellent first impression. NU enters a different situation, and Collins appears intent on building the program with Sina’s contribution.
“[Collins] was explaining his plans for the future of Northwestern,” Sina said. “He thinks it’s important for me to come back, and how it would be so beneficial to the program. It was great just to hear from him.”
The two avoided gritty details. There was no mention of Fred Hill, who led Sina’s original recruitment. Tonight built the foundation.
“It was an introduction,” Sina said. “He’ll talk to the family.”
Sina guessed that Collins would visit his home on April 8th — presumably barring a Duke run to the national championship game.
Wildcats fans differ in their opinions of Jaren Sina. Some consider him an integral part of the future. Others think it would be a nice addition, but not necessary.
Regardless, Chris Collins has begun his work at Northwestern. And the early returns are positive.
For Sina, the process will extend quite a bit longer — but there’s no ruling out the new man in Evanston.