Deng thinks NU has winner in Collins

April, 2, 2013
4/02/13
6:59
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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WASHINGTON D.C. -- Chicago Bulls forward and Duke alum Luol Deng is happy that one of his former coaches, Chris Collins, was named the head coach at Northwestern on Tuesday.

Deng believes that Collins will be able to get the Wildcats back on track.

"I'm happy for him," Deng said. "I think he will do well. I think he's a good recruiter. I think he'll be able to give them different looks and different options of kids going in there, that's the first thing. In terms of basketball, he's a great guy. I think the kids will love him. But (he's) also a hard worker and has a high basketball IQ."

[+] EnlargeLuol Deng
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesLuol Deng says new Northwestern coach Chris Collins is a good pick for the Wildcats.
Deng, who spent the 2003-04 season at Duke before entering the NBA draft, believes that Collins had an impact on his career.

"He was up front with me," Deng said. "He was serious. He always told me what I needed in my game and what I need to add to get to the next level. He always talked about former players and how hard they worked. Over the years, even in my career, I've always gone back to him and spoke to him on the phone and stuff. We've spent some time together in England during the Olympics so he's a good friend of mine."

Deng is hoping to get the chance to spend some time with Collins after the season ends.

"I spoke a little bit with his family," Deng said. His wife (Kim), and she's really excited about going to Chicago and Chris Collins having the head coaching job (at Northwestern)."

In another college coaching shakeup, Bulls forward Taj Gibson is hoping that new USC coach Andy Enfield can help bring the Trojans program back to prominence.

"The way he got that (Florida Gulf Coast) team going, hopefully he can get USC going," Gibson said. "I look forward to probably meeting him this summer. I thought it was (an) April Fool's (joke) because I wasn't too sure but I know that if he took that team to the Sweet Sixteen, hopefully he can do wonders at USC and hopefully they can become lob city."

Gibson was hoping that his former coach at USC, and former Bulls coach, Tim Floyd, would get the job that ultimately went to Enfield.

"Of course I was a little disappointed because that's one of the guys that recruited me to go there," Gibson said. "He kind of changed the program as far as bringing in players and recruiting players there. So it's always kind of a sad feeling but I'm looking forward to seeing the new coach and I'm looking forward to seeing how he's going to do at USC and hopefully USC can shine again."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 3.3 1.5 39.6
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.9
AssistsD. Rose 5.1
StealsJ. Butler 1.5
BlocksP. Gasol 1.9