Tapping into childhood fan fervor is a novel way to impress recruits. It’s also, based on comments from Northwestern’s top point guard target in the class of 2014, working. Wildcats coach Chris Collins used that approach this weekend while hosting Bryant McIntosh for an unofficial visit, and the Greensburg (IN) native came away even more attracted to a program he had begun to admire from afar when NU coaches reached out to him earlier this summer.
The first ploy Collins used was bringing in Duke assistant and 2010 Blue Devils national champion Jon Scheyer, who doubled as a real-life comparison for McIntosh’s versatile backcourt game in film study. Scheyer later talked with McIntosh about his close personal relationship with Collins, and how it helped him grow into the second-team All American he became at Duke.
"It was pretty cool," McIntosh said Monday, hours after returning from his overnight stay in Evanston. Collins also showed McIntosh film of other Duke players he coached with similar skill sets and backcourt responsibilities, including sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon, recently graduated Seth Curry and, in one particular set of run-around-screen spot-ups, former All-American J.J. Redick – and went on to describe how those players’ roles in the offense he helped oversee at Duke would correspond with McIntosh’s prospective fit in the system Collins plans to implement with the Wildcats.
None of those players were locked into one specific position while playing under Collins -- they assumed a "lead guard" role, an expansive backcourt descriptor encompassing ball handling, creation and shot-making abilities. Collins believes McIntosh can assume that duty for the Wildcats.
"It involves a lot of different roles," he said. "I'll be able to distribute and create shots."
After hearing his name discussed in the same breath with some of the players he grew up watching as an avid Blue Devils fan, McIntosh got a clearer picture of how his skills might translate to a Collins-guided Wildcats team. He liked what he saw.
“It was an awesome experience,” he said. “Some of the things he [Chris Collins] ran at Duke, he showed how I could be used in similar situations using Jon and some other players.”
Since decommiting from Indiana State in early July, McIntosh has seen his recruitment ramp up significantly. He had already drawn interest from several high major schools heading into the crucial July evaluation period, wherein he played three events with his Eric Gordon All Stars AAU team, and left with more than 10 offers from BCS schools. The programs recruiting him most intently, according to McIntosh, are Vanderbilt, Xavier and Purdue. McIntosh also holds offers from Florida State, Cincinnati, Creighton, Memphis, Iowa, Missouri West Virginia and Oregon State, among others.
Besides Northwestern, Purdue is the only campus he has visited to date. Sometime within the next week, McIntosh plans to trim his list to a more manageable number, then plan out official visits for the fall, with a planned decision date before the November signing period.
“I’m going to cut it down to as many as I can,” he said. “Then I’ll plan out my officials.”
He already has one booked: Northwestern, October 19. McIntosh couldn’t guarantee Northwestern would make his redacted list, but the implication – given his intention to visit Evanston again – is that the Wildcats will make the cut.
It is no secret Collins is hoping to add a point guard in the 2014 class. One prospect long considered one of NU’s primary PG prospects, Marcus Bartley, recently told InsideNU Northwestern, “isn’t recruiting me anymore.” Another, four-star Tyler Ulis, recently dropped Northwestern from his list of favorites.
That leaves McIntosh as NU’s biggest priority on the point guard front. After a successful overnight visit, and with another one planned in two months, Northwestern appears to be inching closer to landing one of its top 2014 targets.
Bryant McIntosh (recently updated)
School: Greenburg Community HS (IN)
AAU: Eric Gordon All-Stars
Offers: Western Michigan, Kent State, Indiana State, Auburn, Davidson, Florida State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Clemson, Creighton, Iowa, Memphis, Missouri, Oregon State, Purdue, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Dayton
Profiles: Scout, 247, Rivals, ESPN
Notes: Considers Northwestern one of his “top schools.” Picked up NU offer in July. Enjoyed unofficial visit, planned official for October.