In the absence of a visit to gauge his true interest in Northwestern, Bryant McIntosh is going off what he knows, and coach Chris Collins left a memorable first impression. The first conversation between McIntosh and Collins was something of a surreal moment for McIntosh, a lifelong Duke fan who grew up watching Collins coach alongside Mike Krzyzewski for 13 years.
“Growing up as a Duke fan, talking to him on the phone was great,” McIntosh said Friday. “That’s something that really attracts me.”
McIntosh scaled back his fanhood in recent years as he entered the recruiting process, but his Blue Devils love remains strong enough that the Collins tie-in makes Northwestern one of his top choices.
“I’m still getting to know them,” he said. “But I’d say they’re definitely very high on my list.”
The past week has been a whirlwind for McIntosh. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard committed to Indiana State in January but reneged on his verbal mere days ago, and has since picked up interest from several high major schools. Clemson, Xavier, Butler, Missouri, and Vanderbilt have told McIntosh they plan to attend one or more of his AAU events this summer, while six schools (Kent State, Western Michigan, Indiana State, Davidson, Auburn and Florida State) have already offered scholarships.
Deciding to de-commit was a difficult process, but one McIntosh does not regret in hindsight. He had heard rumblings about high-major coaches inquiring about the integrity of his commitment to ISU, and once his AAU coach, Brian Keaton, relayed that information, McIntosh decided to reopen his recruitment.
“I was unsure about it at first,” he said. “But I definitely think I made the right decision.”
This weekend, McIntosh is playing at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis with Eric Gordon All-Stars. Northwestern coaches reached out to him beforehand, and McIntosh said they plan to watch him over the length of the all-important July evaluation period. As the Wildcats continue their search for a point guard to pair with committed forward Vic Law, McIntosh could enter the picture.
His vast improvements over the past few months have made him one of the faster-rising prospects on the July circuit. McIntosh is a creative distributor with excellent size and a sweet shooting stroke, and has spent most of 2013 sanding off some of the rougher edges of his game.
The hard work has paid off.
“I’m a kid that works really hard at basketball,” he said. “Over time, my game has continued to grow a step above where it was. It’s kind of just built to a high-major level over time.”
At the end of his July AAU run, McIntosh will consolidate his list, which could accumulate a few more offers over the next few weeks. McIntosh is hoping Northwestern is one of them, and he plans to visit Evanston in the fall.
“I’d definitely like to make it up to Chicago,” he said. “There’s a lot of things to like about Northwestern.”
Besides his Blue Devils pride, and the inherent fan-oriented connection to Collins, McIntosh is well aware of Northwestern’s academic reputation. In fact, he did some research on the average salaries NU graduates receive in their first year out of high school, and the answer he got left him even more intrigued by the idea of one day playing for the Wildcats.
“I still have to do more research,” he said. “Still, it was impressive.”
An offer from Northwestern could be imminent. McIntosh said Collins and assistant Armon Gates told him they were “very interested,” and that they plan to watch him closely this weekend.
If McIntosh performs up to his potential in the coming weeks, that interest could turn into something more.
School: Greenburg Community HS (IN)
AAU: Eric Gordon All-Stars
Offers: Western Michigan, Kent State, Indiana State, Auburn, Davidson, Florida State
Profiles: Scout, 247, Rivals, ESPN
Notes: Considers Northwestern one of his "top schools." Offer could come this summer. Stock rising.