The head basketball coach Scott Lindsey spoke to during his Northwestern visit in May has, in a matter of months, watched the Fenwick (Ill.) shooting guard develop into a legitimate high-major talent. On Monday, Chris Collins offered Lindsey a scholarship.
It had been a long time coming. Lindsey quickly ascended the Chicago-area recruiting reputation ladder by impressing at various grassroots events – including the Under Armour Summer Jam in Milwaukee and the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis – in July, performances that landed him offers from more than five programs, including Iowa, Nevada and Utah State. Vanderbilt has also monitored Lindsey’s progress, and Lindsey believes coach Kevin Stallings could extend an offer on his unofficial visit there this weekend.
The other visits (all officials) Lindsey has planned are the following: Nevada (September 13-15), Iowa (Sept. 20-22) and Northwestern (October 5). After visiting these four campuses – the schools he’s considering most seriously at this point – Lindsey will gather his thoughts, assess the possibility of more offers coming his way and make a decision before the November signing period.
“I hope to make a decision before then,” Lindsey said Tuesday, referring to the week-long period (November 13-20 in 2013) recruits often sign with programs.
After listing his top four schools, Lindsey briefly discussed each program and why it appeals to him.
On Nevada: “They play in a great conference, the same conference as UNLV, and I think I’d have a good opportunity to play there.”
Iowa: “It’s in the Big Ten, which I think is the best league in college basketball, and it’s not too far from home, which is always nice.”
Vanderbilt: “It’s a great, great school. Down in Tennessee, I love that area. The SEC is a pretty good conference, and I feel like I’ll be able to fit in there. It also sets me up well if I don’t end up playing basketball [professionally].”
The Wildcats have long been an object of Lindsey’s affection, and recent developments have Lindsey even more convinced that Collins will be able to turn Northwestern into a consistently competitive Big Ten program. The commitment of top-100 forward Vic Law, for instance, provided early validation to Collins’ plan to replenish Northwestern’s recruiting ranks with local players.
“It says to me they can get big-time guys,” Lindsey said. “Even some of the other guys they are recruiting are really good players. Coach Collins’ pitch is great.”
Lindsey is also intrigued by the prospect of playing shooting guard in the up-tempo offense Collins plans to install.
“Playing in the uptempo offense would be great,” he said.
The best credential a new coach can wield, of course, is a winning record. Collins has none of the sort – he has never been a head coach in college – but Lindsey is already impressed by the way Collins has handled the early part of his tenure.
“I know he hasn’t coached, but I think he already has the program moving in the right direction,” he said.
When Lindsey visits Northwestern, the percentage of Wildcats fans thinking about basketball will range from infinitesimal to nil. NU will be hosting Ohio State in its Big Ten football opener – a season-defining game many pundits believe, if both teams enter undefeated, could be the biggest regular season contest of coach Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure.
The basketball side of NU has already left its mark on Lindsey. Northwestern is Lindsey’s last planned official visit, and while hoops may not be the main focus of his trip, Lindsey already knows what to expect from Wildcats basketball. He would be joining a program with an intriguing fast-paced system, exalted academic stature and coach who, without ever bossing the sidelines in a regulated NCAA Division 1 contest, has manifested program progress in obvious ways. Lindsey is believing.
School: Fenwick (IL)
AAU: Illinois Old School
Other offers: Indiana State, Iowa
Notes: Under the radar guard; Took unofficial visit to NU and liked momentum of the program, has official visit planned for October.