Chicago Colleges: Gary DeCesare

Top-100 recruit Law commits to N'western

July, 4, 2013
Chicago St. Rita senior forward Vic Law committed to Northwestern coach Chris Collins on Thursday and became the highest-ranked recruit in the program’s history.

Law, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward, chose Northwestern over Dayton, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Stanford and VCU. He is ranked No. 66 by ESPN in the Class of 2014.

“There’s nothing like being No. 1,” Law said of becoming the first top-100 recruit ever to commit to Northwestern. “Knowing that, I really believe in coach Collins. I think [Northwestern] can go to the [NCAA tournament] this year. I think the sky’s the limit for them and they can only go up. I really believe in coach Collins. I just think he has a great basketball mind.”

St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare, a former Division I assistant coach, thinks Law and Northwestern are perfect for each other.

“I think it’s an all-around fit for everyone,” DeCesare said. “As far as Vic playing, his greatest characteristic is his versatility. He’s a very skilled wing with great size. He has an ability to knock down shots and create shots. Defensively, he can guard multiple positions, which is a huge plus.

“He’s been a three-year starter for me. Every year, he’s gotten better and better. There aren’t too many guys who are 6-8 and can knock down the deep 3 and get to the rim and finish. If he puts his mind to it, he can be one of the best players in the state.”

Law believes he is just the start for Northwestern in attracting top-100 players.

“I’m going to bring in some guys with me,” Law said. “I’m not worried about it. Being No. 1 means nothing until there’s No. 2.”

Law averaged 15 points and seven rebounds last season for St. Rita of the Chicago Catholic League.

Northwestern assistant coach Armon Gates was the lead recruiter on Law.

Collins was hired in late March to replace Bill Carmody, who was fired after 13 seasons. Northwestern has never been to the NCAA tournament.

Law is Northwestern’s first Class of 2014 recruit.

Groce praised as coach, recruiter

March, 29, 2012

Here’s what others are saying about new Illinois coach John Groce:

“He has a great basketball mind and a hunger for getting himself and his team better daily. I think U of I has found its answer. The style of play is going to attract big time players,” – Philadelphia 76ers guard and former Ohio State player Evan Turner.

“He is a fantastic recruiter, fantastic. No messing around. No, ‘Well, he doesn’t do this.’ Terrific, terrific in people’s homes, terrific in terms of being able to evaluate. I think you have to be there. You have to be all things to all people when you’re a head coach in the Big Ten. You have to be able to recruit different places, different types of people, different family situations. I think he’s very good at that,” – ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich.

“He’s intense. He’s focused. I think he’s a tremendous head coach. His kids really love playing for him, and he loves his kids, too. I think he’s really grown as a head coach in his four years at Ohio. I think he took what he’s learned from others – Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter – and in Year 4 it’s a perfect storm of it all. It’s all seemed to click. When the lights are the brightest, I think that’s when he coaches his best,” – Ohio play-by-play announcer Russ Eisenstein.

“John Groce is a very energetic guy. He relates to his players extremely well. He’ s a very good recruiter. He’s come into the Chicagoland area and gotten D.J. Cooper, who is an outstanding players out of the south suburbs of Chicago. He’s familiar with the landscape,” – ESPN college basketball analyst and former Illinois player Stephen Bardo.

“He’s a very good guy. It think he’ll do a super job. I know John. He would have only taken it if he was completely sure. John had plenty of opportunities to become a head coach. He took his time,” – Former DePaul assistant and current St. Rita high school coach Gary DeCesare.

“What I know of coach Groce is throughout the years he’s done a great job recruiting wherever he’s been and has moved up the ladder. He’s done everything to move up to be considered for this job. He didn’t ask for the media circus around him. He didn’t create that,” – Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins.

“It’s not a bad hire at all. I think he’s a great hire. I think he’s a dynamite communicator. He’s proven he can get kids to elevate their play. He’ll be able to deal with guys around Chicago. He’ll be able to win guys over,” – Illinois high school basketball analyst and former club coach Larry Butler.