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.