There are no guarantees in recruiting. Northwestern has its sights set on a number of variously touted prospects in 2014, and we can guess at the likelihood of certain players signing with the Wildcats, but the simple fact remains – as committed or interested as any given player may seem at a given point in time – that we just don’t know.
Knowing who Northwestern will land and knowing which positions it is targeting are different things, and in 2014, all signs point to the Wildcats trying to land a point guard.
A few top candidates have already begun to emerge, including two-star guard Darreon Reddick, who played in the Reebok Classic Breakout Tournament at Philadelphia University this weekend. Northwestern coaches saw Reddick put on a strong performance – just another reason to believe the Wildcats, having already offered point guards Marcus Bartley and Bryant McIntosh, could be close to following suit with Reddick.
“They said they’d be watching me this summer,” Reddick said Sunday. “There’s a possibility I could get an offer after that.”
Reddick -- who holds offers from five mid-majors and has generated a lot of interest from Tennessee, Xavier and Dayton, among others -- has two more events scheduled this summer with his SW Illinois Jets AAU team, and he said he expects Northwestern to attend both. His recruitment with the Wildcats has started to heat up only recently, but Reddick’s ties to Wildcats coaches span back before Collins’ tenure, when assistants Armon Gates (Loyola) and Patrick Baldwin (Missouri State) recruited him at their respective former programs.
His pre-established relationships with assistants helped Reddick feel more comfortable with NU, and after meeting Collins on his visit, Reddick is even more convinced about the Wildcats as a potential landing spot. After touring campus, a process Reddick no doubt enjoyed – “I liked everything. Liked the campus, liked the water. It’s right near Chicago, which is nice.” – Collins spoke to Reddick about his plan to mold the Wildcats into a consistent winner. Reddick is intrigued by the idea of becoming one of the cornerstones of Collins' rebuild.
“They’re trying to make a name for themselves, I like that,” he said. “Coach Collins is trying to rebuild the program. I like where they’re headed. I want to help start a new legacy.”
Most schools, including Northwestern, are recruiting Reddick at point guard, but his size (6-foot-3), versatility and natural scoring ability translate to the 2 spot all the same. Position aside, Reddick believes he can play in the best conference in the country, and the Wildcats offer that possibility.
"I want to play in the best conference," he said. "I know I can be a Big Ten guard."
In one of his games this weekend, Reddick faced a player he might be seeing more often if he continues to pursue a possible future with Northwestern. 2014 commit Vic Law lined up opposite Reddick, and the Belleville (IL) guard liked everything he saw.
“He’s a top-100 player, really nice,” he said. “He can shoot it, drive it, pass. I wouldn’t mind playing with him at all. We could do something good for Northwestern.”
Until the Wildcats decide to offer Reddick, it’s hard to predict the likelihood of that purported partnership becoming a reality. Reddick plans to review his offers in August (including a potential NU offer) and map out a few visits before making a decision in September. If Northwestern offers, Reddick said he will be back on campus in the fall.
“I like them a lot,” he said of Northwestern.
The next two four-day stretches of the July Evaluation period (July 17-21; July 24-28) will help decide whether Reddick will be returning to Evanston in a few months’ time.
School: Belleville East (IL)
AAU: SW Illinois Jets
Offers: Bradley, DePaul, Indiana St., Missouri St., Valparaiso
Profiles: Scout, Rivals, 247
Notes: Is high on Northwestern. Trying to earn offer this summer; if he gets it, plans to visit again before deciding in September.