Before Chris Collins became Northwestern’s head coach, Jordan Ash liked Northwestern. Now he really likes Northwestern.
The 2015 guard from Chicago met Collins and his staff for the first time last month, when he visited Evanston the weekend of October 19. A summary of Ash’s visit: it went better than the football team’s game against Minnesota that weekend.
“It was a great time,” Ash said of his visit. Ash hung out with 2014 signees Gavin Skelly, Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey and Victor Law, watched the basketball team scrimmage and said he left the campus with a “better feel” for the school. The visit reinforced what Ash already knew to be true about Northwestern: it’s a school he will deeply consider in his college search moving forward.
Ash’s relationship with Collins and assistants is just one reason why he is more attracted to Northwestern now than he was when former coach Bill Carmody -- who offered Ash a scholarship -- was recruiting him. Collins’ motion-based offense, which replaced Carmody’s Princeton system – and is used by Ash’s high school (St. Joseph’s) and AAU teams (Illinois Wolves) – is a better fit for Ash, who says it’s a “fun system to play in when you have the right guys.” Ash believes he would not be limited to one position in Collins' system; he would be a "guard," charged with handling a number of different roles.
The logical next question: does Northwestern have the right guys? Ash thinks so. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard is impressed by the players Collins landed in his first recruiting class. “We’re all cool,” he said of he and Northwestern’s next freshman class. Ash also said Collins believes the 2015 guard will be able to contribute “right away,” were he to commit to Northwestern.
DePaul, Iowa and Purdue (in addition to Northwestern) all have offered Ash, and he believes a few more – possibly Xavier, Georgia Tech and Santa Clara (he also has strong interest from Harvard, who cannot offer him an athletic scholarship) – could be on the way.
It will be a while before Ash begins narrowing down his list of schools, let alone makes his verbal commitment. But Northwestern is definitely one of the schools he’s keeping on his radar. The academics and location are obvious attractions, but most important, Ash believes Collins can extinguish the negative perception of Northwestern as a Big Ten bottom-feeder.
“He’s going to do great things,” Ash said.
Ash said he hopes to make another trip to Evanston in January or February.
School: St. Joseph's
Other offers: DePaul, Iowa, Purdue
Crystal Ball: 100% Northwestern
Notes: Visited Northwestern in October, likes new feel of program under Collins, plans to return to Evanston in 2014.