Northwestern's results in the non-conference have not been up to expectations thus far, but the freshman class isn't to blame for the Wildcats' lackluster start. The five scholarship freshmen are all getting significant minutes, and Bryant McIntosh has brought a semblance of flow to the offense. Through one quarter and ten games, the freshmen should be hanging their report card on the fridge.
Bryant McIntosh: A-
McIntosh has played exactly as the scouting report advertised. He heads up the point with good pace and vision. He gets the Wildcats up and down the floor and works the pick-and-roll well in the halfcourt. McIntosh is able to penetrate the lane, where he can finish with a teardrop floater, pass well from anywhere on the floor, and he's playing the most minutes of anyone on the team. He makes occasional mistakes defensively, and he's had some off nights, which is to be expected. The inconsistency will probably increase in conference play, but overall, McIntosh has been great at the point.
Vic Law: B+
Similar to McIntosh, Law has been solid to start the season, but inconsistency is holding him back. He only had four total points in the Northern Iowa and Georgia Tech games, and that came on the heels of 29 points in NU's two prior outings. When he's not removed on the offensive end, Law drives the lane, draws fouls around the rim and then knocks down above 80 percent from the line. He's a good on-ball defender and gets the Welsh-Ryan crowd on their feet by scoring off turnovers. If Law finds his three point shot and becomes more consistent, he will ace the next quarter.
Scottie Lindsey: B
Northwestern's nicest surprise this season may very well be Scottie Lindsey. He's obviously not playing at Vic Law's level, but he has easily surpassed expectations. Few outside the program thought that Lindsey would get much playing time, but he's often the second man off the bench and playing nearly 12 minutes per game. He's arguably NU's best pure shooter and could use more scoring opportunities. However, Lindsey turns the ball over pretty frequently and is not a great on-ball defender. The lanky guard needs to develop more before taking the next step.
Gavin Skelly: B
Skelly is in an interesting situation where some nights he's given 14-16 minutes and others he only gets 2-4. It depends a lot on the opponent's lineup and post play and if Alex Olah is in foul trouble. Skelly brings a lot of energy, especially on the defensive end, and Collins will sub him in specifically for defensive purposes. He doesn't provide much offensively though. He will rock the rim with a two-handed jam now and then, but he doesn't shoot from outside five feet. Another guy who needs to develop, Skelly should continue to get minutes off the bench since Jeremiah Kreisberg's playing time has been limited.
Johnnie Vassar: INC
If I had to give Vassar a grade, he'd probably get a B or B-, but for now, he's going to have an incomplete. This isn't a critique of Vassar or his play. It's because he's playing very sparingly and much of his playing time has come in garbage minutes, so I don't think it's fair to evaluate him just yet. Vassar creates havoc on defense, applying on-ball pressure and forcing some turnovers. He can be out of control when leading the break and rarely shoots the basketball, although he's very efficient when he does put it up. Collins likes to use Vassar as a spark off the bench, but as his minutes increase, perhaps his role will expand beyond that.