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Northwestern coach Chris Collins might set off a firework or two during this Fourth of July holiday to celebrate the news he received on Thursday: St. Rita star Vic Law committed to the Wildcats.
Now, both Law and Collins will be on the same mission: build the Northwestern basketball program.
"We're going to win at Northwestern and the roof will blow off when we do," says Law. "I have no doubt about that. I believe in Chris Collins. I love his enthusiasm, his energy, the vision he has."
With Law in the fold, Collins locked up his first recruit since being hired this past spring -- and it's a big one. Law is a 6-7 rising senior who is ranked among the top 100 players in the country. Plus, it's a big name locally for a program that intends to hit the city, suburbs and state of Illinois very hard.
"Vic believed in me and St. Rita when he came here and helped elevate our basketball program and he believes in Chris Collins," says St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare. "I believe Chris Collins is a rising star. It's a win-win for everyone."
Northwestern now has a player with size, length and athleticism who will be able to play both forward positions. Over the course of the past year Law's game has become more polished, showing an ability to knock down perimeter shots and improvement putting the ball on the floor.
"He's so versatile," DeCesare said of Law, who averaged 14 points and nearly 9 rebounds a game as a junior. "He's a terrific kid with a work ethic and who has improved his game each and every year he's been here. He continues to get better and better."
Law came into high school with a name and reputation as one of the better players in the state in the Class of 2014. He's been a varsity performer each of his three years in high school and put together a solid junior year. Law established himself nationally, put himself in a great position academically and had the likes of VCU, Georgia Tech, Dayton, Stanford and plenty of other suitors pursuing him. At the very end, Northwestern overcame and held off VCU and Dayton.
"I'm just ecstatic," says Law of his commitment. "There aren't a lot of people who are given the chance to go to Northwestern with all that it offers as a school."
Northwestern took a big step forward in Law's recruitment with the hiring of assistant Armon Gates, who had been recruiting Law early on in his career while on the Loyola staff. Also, by heading to Northwestern, Law will remain close to his family, including his older sister Simone, who plays basketball at Loyola.
With the commitment from Law, Northwestern has significantly raised the stakes in recruiting since the days when landing Michael "Juice" Thompson of Lincoln Park made headlines.
Nabbing Glenbard West's John Shurna proved to be a huge coup as he left as the school's all-time leading scorer; but Shurna wasn't fully appreciated locally or nationally until his playing days in Evanston. Naperville Central's Drew Crawford, who was the City/Suburban Hoops Report's Player of the Year in Illinois coming out of high school, was the biggest in-state recruit during the Bill Carmody era. Yet even Crawford's rep didn't soar until after he signed in November of his senior year and put together a monster final prep season.
Law is arguably the biggest high-profile local recruit to commit to Northwestern out of high school. Now Collins and his staff can focus on securing a point guard. The Wildcats are right there in the mix for Decatur MacArthur's Marcus Bartley and Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis, who just recently had a very positive visit to the Northwestern campus.