April In Review

PurpleWildcats.com Publisher
Posted May 1, 2013


Purple Wildcats summarizes the month of April in Northwestern sports.

2: Chris Collins introduced himself to Northwestern, infusing the team with confidence. “… My goal is to build a top-notch basketball program,” he said. “It’s exciting for me to put my imprint on this school.” In the approximately half-hour press conference, he spoke about the importance of recruiting and addressed his coaching pedigree. Afterwards, positive reaction poured in from outside sources. So far, he’s done nothing to quell the newfound optimism in Evanston.

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3: Collins worked quickly to establish his staff, and that left out two of Bill Carmody’s former assistants. As reported by PurpleWildcats, he chose not to retain Fred Hill and Ivan Vujic. Though it made sense, this put an understandable dent in the team’s recruitment of 2013 point guard Jaren Sina. Seton Hall eventually added Hill as one of its assistant coaches, helping the Pirates land the point guard of their future. Collins wisely included Tavaras Hardy–the renowned recruiter–on his staff.

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4: Cameron Queiro first told PurpleWildcats that he committed to the Wildcats. The three-star prospect from Bergen Catholic–which recently became an important pipeline for NU–will likely move to outside linebacker when he arrives on campus. After making his selection, Queiro told Brian Dohn that his brother, Kyle, helped push him towards NU. It was another exciting get for the team, which looks destined for one of its best recruiting classes in recent memory.

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6: Ben Oxley followed suit just two days later. The three-star defensive tackle from Avon Lake (Ohio) decided on NU after his overnight stay with Deonte Gibson. Also interesting was Oxley’s statement that Fitzgerald is “one of the best coaches [he’s] ever talked to when it comes to player development.” Regardless of where Oxley takes the field in future seasons–it could be on offense or defense–he’s confident that will result in a successful career.

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11: Collins, meanwhile, quickly took to the recruiting trail. He fielded a visit from Paul White, and then met with highly touted prospects Marcus Bartley and Vic Law. The four-star prospect Law praised Collins for tailoring his system to the players. He also noted the importance of Collins’ professional experience and coaching pedigree, which seems to factor into each of his pitches.

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13: NU finished spring practice with an upbeat session on Lakeside Field. Dave Eanet and former quarterback Dan Persa took to the booth, and the team concluded drills with a dizzy-bat/hot dog-eating race. It wasn’t an especially loud spring for the program, but excitement continues to build for the 2013 season. Some memorable performers throughout spring were wide receivers Rashad Lawrence and Cameron Dickerson, running back Stephen Buckley and safety Traveon Henry.

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17: PurpleWildcats first confirmed that Patrick Baldwin accepted an assistant coaching position. The former NU player (1990-94) and Missouri State assistant returned home, providing another unique layer to the staff. Baldwin had an offer to join Tim Miles’ staff with Nebraska. An impressive candidate, he climbed up the coaching ranks and will continue his strong career in Evanston.

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18: Running back Solomon Vault tweeted his commitment to join the 2014 class. The Gaithersburg (Md.) prospect could work out of the slot. Vault was another intriguing signee, as his recruitment picked up in the days leading up to his commitment. He received an offer from Nebraska shortly before making the call to NU. The 2014 group stands at five members, and boasts excellent athleticism and versatility.

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21: Northwestern continued its city wide promotional efforts by staging a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Though the event still felt somewhat small-scale, Luke Farrell delivered a perfectly timed gem. He threw a 90-pitch complete game three-hitter, which fired up the crowd throughout the 6-0 win. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise for Chicago’s Big Ten team.

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28: The Big Ten approved conference realignment once again. The two major moves were the geographical division split and the eventual move to a nine-game conference schedule. Commissioner Jim Delany told Adam Rittenberg that it restored tradition and protected rivalries. NU will join the West division when the measures are adopted in 2014.

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Related Stories
The Reaction: Challenges for Collins
 -by PurpleWildcats.com  May 2, 2013
Chris Lauten to be named Director of Ops
 -by PurpleWildcats.com  May 3, 2013
Tommy Doles Commits to Northwestern
 -by PurpleWildcats.com  May 3, 2013

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