Chris Johnson
By (@ChrisDJohnsonn)
Sep 10, 2013

At some point this summer, Northwestern stopped recruiting every point guard in the 2014 class except one. On Monday, the loner, Bryant McIntosh, committed to Northwestern while hosting coach Chris Collins for an in-house visit.

Leading up to his decision, McIntosh had narrowed his choices down to Northwestern and Purdue. The deciding factors were multiple – a more comfortable relationship with Northwestern’s coaches, the persistence NU showed throughout its recruitment of him, and the prospect of earning significant playing time in the Wildcats’ backcourt right away.

“I just felt like it was the best fit,” McIntosh said Tuesday of Northwestern. “How they prioritized me, that was special. I just had a better feeling [about Northwestern]”

This announcement could have come a month sooner, were the decision up to McIntosh’s family. While visiting campus in August, his family taking in Evanston alongside him, McIntosh said his cohort urged him to make his commitment right then and there. He had thoroughly enjoyed his meeting with coaches – wherein Collins outlined his plans to use McIntosh as a “lead guard,” a catchall backcourt designation that will allow him to play alongside incumbent point guard Dave Sobolewski, McIntosh says – and liked what he saw of Evanston. McIntosh even got a feel for Welsh-Ryan Arena, where he took jump shots late into the night with his father and grandfather.

You can see why McIntosh wanted to wait a few weeks. With offers from a host of BCS programs, including Auburn, Florida State, Iowa, Marquette, Memphis, Xavier and others, the Greensburg (IN) native had a menu of appealing options to choose from.

In the end, the Wildcats made the most sense, and now McIntosh joins a 2014 class featuring forwards Gavin Skelly and Victor Law, the latter a top-90 prospect, according to Rivals’ latest rankings.

“I know both of them can really play the game of basketball,” McIntosh said. “Northwestern’s really recruiting some great guys.”

People were interested to see how the commitment of Law — whose decision was attended with great optimism — would affect other recruits considering Northwestern. So far, the results have been positive, and McIntosh is the latest evidence to this effect.

Under the Carmody regime, the recruitment of Law was revealed – through Luke Winn’s July feature – to be a heavy-handed disaster of laughable proportions. The former Northwestern coach gave Law’s father the impression Law should be persuaded to join Northwestern just because – that Carmody didn’t need to actively recruit Law to earn his verbal commitment.

That kind of attitude may have led him to dismiss Skelly or McIntosh, promising additions both. Collins redeemed the situation, added Law this summer and has watched the conversation surrounding his program – thanks to various features and public appearances – take an unmistakably positive turn.

The Wildcats, with additions like McIntosh, a process requiring Northwestern to beat out more established programs, are making positive headlines on the recruiting trail. Positive results on the court will follow, if you ask McIntosh.

“I think we have a good chance to make the NCAA Tournament by my sophomore year,” he said. “Having coach Collins, if I was a betting man, I would bet on us.”

Next year McIntosh, then a freshman, can help Northwestern try to get over the Tournament hump. Between now and November 2014, he plans to attend Northwestern’s away games at Indiana (Jan. 18) and Purdue (March 8 or 9), and hopes to travel to Evanston for at least one home contest this winter.

It will be difficult to resist the urge to look ahead.

  • Chasmo

    “Next year McIntosh, then a freshman, can help get Northwestern try and get over the Tournament hump.”

    He can help Northwestern try to get over the Tournament hump. One tries to do something. “Try and” makes it sound as if the trying and the doing are unrelated.

  • bd005

    Under the Carmody regime, the recruitment of Law was revealed – through Luke Winn’s July feature
    – to be a heavy-handed disaster of laughable proportions. The former
    Northwestern coach gave Law’s father the impression Law should be
    persuaded to join Northwestern just because – that Carmody didn’t need
    to actively recruit Law to earn his verbal commitment.

    That kind of attitude may have led him to dismiss Skelly or McIntosh, promising additions both.

    – OK, let’s get real here.

    According to other sources, Carmody and Co. didn’t see Law as the priority at the position (and for the fact, neither did Illinois’ Groce) – which is probably why Law’s father was so disgruntled.

    Skelly was a 2* or unranked (now a 3* according to Rivals) and lightly recruited and McIntosh had been committed to ISU and his recruited blew up over the summer.

    • Chris Johnson

      Who are the “other sources”? just curious. And are you trying to say Skelly won’t be a good player because of his ranking?

      • bd005

        There are others who noted this, but from the SI Luke Winn article which, you, yourself cite.

        “The fact that Carmody’s Wildcats slow-played their offer to Law — initially telling St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare, according to Law Sr., that they had HIGHER-PRIORITY targets for 2014 — further soured the situation.”

        And both Teddy Greenstein and Nick Medline already have Skelly pegged as a “role player” – I don’t know how they can already come to that conclusion, esp. as bigs tend to develop a bit more slowly.

        Skelly seems to have the size and athleticism – so if he develops his offensive game over the next couple of years, he should be more than a role player (at the very least, he should be an improvement on D at the 4 and active around the basket).

        • Chris Johnson

          Ok…so what point are you trying to make about Skelly, if you, yourself, are at least somewhat puzzled by Medline and Greenstein’s characterization of him as a role player? And the fact they didn’t go harder after Law is exactly the point — Carmody should have recruited Law, should have made him a “priority” at the position, because it was unrealistic he would be able to land a better player — which he didn’t. ever.

          • Chasmo

            Skelly will be a role player only if Collins recruits better big men than are currently on the roster. Next season’s “big men” will be Olah, Ajou, Turner, and Skelly. It seems highly unlikely at this point in their careers that Ajou and Turner will ever be able to provide quality Big Ten minutes. So unless the fourth and final recruit is a star big man, Skelly by default will end up getting a lot of minutes next year at both power forward and center.
            The NU front court is in bad shape for 2014-15 unless a talented big man is Collins’ fourth recruit for 2014.

          • bd005

            Ajou always had potential on the defensive end but it seems his legs might keep him from ever contributing.

            Another 4 or a 4/5 is vital, but if CC can’t find a viable big, then he should save the schollie for the next class or look into getting a 5th year transfer like Swop.

          • bd005

            Yes.

            As Shurna and Crawford were relatively lightly recruited, it’s way too early to “write off” Skelly as a role player, when he has above avg. size and athleticism for the position (Lumpkin was even more lightly recruited but he will turn out to be a good one).

            Maybe it will take some time for Skelly, but he could develop like Hearn or Nash, but then again, he could not develop like Capocci.

            As for Law, you don’t know if Carmody had other SFs that he thought was a better fit or whether he thought they were fine at the SF position with Lumpkin (who is in the mold of Crawford, but is an even better defender), Abrahamson and Taphorn and thought that there were “greater needs” (such as at the PF position – which is why they were hot and heavy after Reid).

            After all, Groce didn’t go after Law that much either.

          • Chris Johnson

            That’s all well and good, but the fact Law like the school, the academics, the location and basically everything about it other than Carmody’s approach should tell you all you need to know. Going after Reid Travis was a lost cause from the start; had Carmody shown interest in recruiting Law, he might have had a chance to land him.

          • bd005

            And Law didn’t like Groce’s approach either since he wasn’t a priority for the Illini as well.

            Again, you don’t know if Carmody had flyers on other highly ranked SFs or if BC thought the position was well-stocked with Lumpkin, Abrahamson and Taphorn and you also don’t know that going after Reid was a “lost cause.”

            The combination of Sina (who had the best offer – one from Indiana) and Taphorn isn’t that much lower (recruiting ranking and offer-wise) than that of Law and McIntosh, but you made it seem as if BC was bungling his way thru.

            For all the excitement about McIntosh (which I am as well), Sina has the much higher recruiting ranking as point guards go and has a more impressive offer list (from Indiana and former BE powerhouses like Pitt and Villanova).

          • Chris Johnson

            I’m not trying to diminish what landing Sina would have meant (or trying to compare him to McIntosh). But yes, Travis was a lost cause. And whether or not Law was a priority, he should have been — he’s the highest ranked recruit Northwestern has landed since Eschmeyer. He liked the school; he didn’t like Carmody. That’s a problem.

          • Chris Johnson

            *landing (and keeping Sina)

    • Mark Wheaton

      FWIW, Sina was a Top 100 PG (#22), not Top 100 overall player. David Sobolewski was also a Top 100 PG, at 91 in 2011……………..
      Law is actually an ESPN Top 100 Player, coming is at #66 overall. Perhaps not the priority player BC was looking for but not too shabby anyway.

      • bd005

        Sina is an ESPN Top 100 player (#91) and has a more extensive offer list than McIntosh.

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