Northwestern returned to Evanston from its NIT loss at Washington early Saturday morning.
As of Wednesday afternoon, NU athletic director Jim Phillips had yet to complete his evaluation of basketball coach Bill Carmody. Phillips declined comment again Wednesday, and Carmody has not returned messages.
The longer the process continues, the more fans and media will speculate.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz wrote: "A number of sources close to Northwestern's Bill Carmody have wondered throughout the year if Carmody would return after the exhaustion of trying to get the Wildcats to the NCAAs. Still, the Wildcats have improved dramatically under Carmody and are always competitive. If he were to resign then the Wildcats would have to look at Duke associate coach Chris Collins, who is from Northbrook, Ill. Collins is ready to make a break from Duke and would do wonders back in his hometown."
During a long interview in his office March 7, Carmody gave zero indication he would resign after 12 seasons. Quite the opposite. He excitedly said -- excited by his standards -- that "we're involved with some good players" -- i.e. high school sophomores and juniors -- thanks to a fourth straight season better than .500.
The 60-year-old Carmody twice reached the NCAA tournament at Princeton. He is determined to return.
Last week at the United Center, 76ers coach Doug Collins said son Chris was "ready" to take over a college program but would not comment on the NU situation, given that Carmody could be retained. Chris Collins also is too classy to comment on a job that remains filled.
But two associates of Collins are confident he would take the job if it were offered. One said that Collins actually would favor Northwestern over the Illinois vacancy.
Illinois has a higher ceiling and can offer more money, but its leadership seems in disarray -- again. Top faculty members have called for the Board of Trustees to fire school President Michael Hogan. Athletic Director Mike Thomas has been on the job six months and has been turned down for the football opening by Kevin Sumlin and the basketball spot by Shaka Smart.
NU coaches love working with Phillips, who clearly is taking great care in his laborious evaluation process of Carmody. And President Morton Schapiro is a sports nut who is determined to field winning teams. The school continues to work on plans for a massive facilities upgrade that could cost $250 million or more.
Northwestern also attracts recruits that come from stable families and are not heavily influenced by AAU coaches.
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