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An early look at Northwestern basketball's 2015 recruits

Three high school seniors have pledged to attend Northwestern and join the program in 2015 as the early signing period arrives.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the beginning of the weeklong early signing period for high school seniors looking to sign National Letters of Intent. Three players have pledged allegiance to Chris Collins, who's hit the ground running in terms of recruiting.

We've covered the Class of 2014 before, which was a tremendous success considering it was Collins' first year at the helm and the fact that Northwestern's basketball history is less than stellar. The turnaround since Collins' arrival has been steep, with only 6 players that played for Bill Carmody remaining on the roster. It's clear that Collins' believes he knows the type of player this program needs to take the next step, and he's been active in ensuring that he gets those players and gets them quickly.

However, it's vital that Collins and his staff build on their recruiting success from last year to prove that they're here to stay. Here's an early look at the three recruits whose commitments have vaulted Northwestern to the No. 36 recruiting class for 2015.

Aaron Falzon

The crowned jewel of the Class of 2015 (at least so far), Aaron Falzon is a 6-foot-7 forward out of Northfield-Mt. Hermon High School in Newton, Massachusetts. Ranked 91st in ESPN's top 100, Falzon has the potential to be an ideal stretch-four, the type of player that is a matchup nightmare due to his ability to stretch the floor. He's the only four-star recruit the Wildcats have managed to nag.

Falzon already has NBA-range, which is not something you see often in high school power forwards. It's no coincidence that both perennial powerhouse Boston College and Harvard, the class of the Ivy League, wanted his signature. But Falzon gave his commitment to Chris Collins shortly after his visit to campus.

Expect Falzon to compete for a starting position right from the get-go. The four position is there for the taking, and that's not a jab at Sanjay Lumpkin- he's an excellent defender and a solid rebounder, but it would suit the Wildcats well to be able to generate some offense from that position. If Falzon can continue to beef up, as he's reportedly done the past year or so, he could be a valuable contributor his freshman year.

Above, you'll find a nice semi-recent video of Falzon. It appears that he's relatively strong going to the hole as well as possessing a solid fundamental shooting motion. As with most high school mixtapes that show you literally a player's best plays and leave out all his mistakes, it's hard not to like what you see.

Jordan Ash

Jordan Ash is a three-star 6-foot-2 shooting guard out of nearby St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois. It's worth noting that Ash is from the Chicagoland area, as Northwestern has traditionally struggled to bring the vast talent that Chicago high school basketball churns out year after year to Evanston. But Vic Law and Scott Lindsey were a great step in the right direction, and Ash's commitment suggests that Northwestern has their foot firmly in the door when it comes to recruiting in Chicago.

On the court, Ash is a crafty lefty scorer who's a bit too streaky as a shooter for my liking. He competes on both ends of the floor, and is a solid finisher in the lane despite being undersized for his position. What's most noteworthy about Ash is that he's a very, very good athlete, and that's been a trend with Collins' recruits. Collins is a defense-first coach, and you need elite athletes to play great defense, so it's not a real surprise that athleticism is one of the first things the NU coaching staff looks for in recruits. Athleticism also prompts sites like ESPN to describe kids like Ash as having "excellent upside," for what it's worth.

The highlight video shows a slower-than-ideal release but a knack for scoring in the paint that you can't teach.

Derek Pardon

Dererk Pardon is a 6-foot-8 power forward out of Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Pardon chose Northwestern over Pittsburgh, a program who's had much more success than the Wildcats have both historically and recently- Pitt went 26-10 last year and made the NCAA tournament. This is further evidence that Chris Collins is a darn good recruiter.

Pardon, like Ash, is a lefty who's aggressive and active, and he's a skilled shot blocker. The story of Pardon's recruitment has been improvement. ESPN describes him as having improved from a mid major prospect to a high major prospect. Let's hope Pardon's upward trajectory continues, and that he can add a little beef to his 6-foot-8 frame and become one of Northwestern's better defenders in the near future.