Things got a little bit easier for Chris Collins in his first year as the Northwestern head coach on Friday. Senior guard/forward Drew Crawford announced he would remain at Northwestern for his final season.
“I can’t wait to be on the court with my Northwestern teammates again this upcoming season,” Crawford said in a school statement. “Coach Collins has brought great energy to the program and we all believe in his vision.
“I have loved my experience here at NU and I’m proud to call it home. I’m ready to do all I can to lead this group and make my last year at Northwestern a great one.
“We’re all thrilled that Drew has decided to remain here at Northwestern for his fifth year,” Wildcats’ head coach Chris Collins said. “It obviously will be a tremendous asset to have him continue to be a part of the program, not only because of his ability on the court but he’s also an outstanding leader. Drew has invested a great deal into the program over the last four years. I look forward to having the opportunity to coach him and having him be a key member of our team.”
Crawford averaged 16.1 points per game as a junior and was a consensus third-team All-Big Ten selection that year. In 2012-2013, the 6-foot-5 Crawford torn his labrum after 10 games, requiring season-ending surgery.
Crawford graduates from Northwestern with a degree in economics this spring. He could have transferred to another program and would have been able to play right away. Instead he will remain with the Wildcats for the 2013-2014 campaign.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)