Chris Collins locked up his seventh commit as head coach at NU as 3-star recruit Dererk Pardon gave Collins a verbal commitment last Saturday. Collins' 2015-16 roster is shaping up nicely, with five players coming in via the class of 2014 and now two commits in the class of 2015. Collins' progress as head coach will certainly be evaluated closely in 2015-16, since it will be his third season in the position and no more than four players will remain from the Carmody era.
Alex Olah and Tre Demps will be the lone seniors in the class of 2015-16, barring the addition of any transfers. Olah and Demps made great strides this past season, especially on the offensive end. If they continue to develop at their current rate, Demps should be the team's leading scorer and Olah in contention for all-conference honors in 2015-16.
The last recruits from the Bill Carmody era, Sanjay Lumpkin and Nate Taphorn, will be the only juniors in 2015-16. Lumpkin proved to be extremely valuable defensively and on the boards this season. His offensive game has plenty of room for improvement, but Lumpkin should definitely get solid minutes in 2015-16. Taphorn, who saw his minutes decline significantly in conference play during his freshman season, will have to compete with younger forwards for play time.
Collins' large and talented first recruiting class will make up Northwestern's sophomore class in 2015-16. Guards Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey and Johnnie Vassar will run the backcourt with Demps. It's certainly too early to know who will start at point, but McIntosh appears to be the front runner. McIntosh can also play on the wing while Vassar is a true point guard and Lindsey a shooting guard. Forward Gavin Skelly and Vic Law will be integral in Collins' system by 2015-16 as well. Law is expected to start as soon as he arrives in Evanston, and Skelly, in his 6-foot-8 frame, brings some size that will be lacking on the roster. For now though, the benefit of the doubt has to be given to Sanjay Lumpkin for starting at the four spot.
The class of 2015 most likely is not complete, but so far Collins has commits from 3-star guard Jordan Ash and forward Dererk Pardon. With so much young talent, Ash and Pardon will have the opportunity to show what they can do, but they probably won't play much their freshman seasons. Collins still has two more scholarships to work with, one of which could go to Loyola Marymount transfer Gabe Levin, who is choosing between NU, Notre Dame and Marquette. Levin would have to sit out a season and would be a sophomore in 2015-16.
Chris Collins has really expedited the transition into a new era at Northwestern, landing seven commits in a little more than a year. The 2015-16 roster will be made up of mostly his recruits, and the starting lineup should include at least two sophomores. A lot could change in a year and a half, so it's very early to determine the 2015-16 starting lineup. But right now, one possibility looks like McIntosh, Demps, Law, Lumpkin and Olah. Either way, here's what NU will have to choose from:
Freshmen: Dererk Pardon, Jordan Ash
Sophomores: Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey, Gavin Skelly, Johnnie Vassar
Juniors: Sanjay Lumpkin, Nate Taphorn
Seniors: Alex Olah, Tre Demps
TBD: 2 more players (maybe Levin?)
If one thing is sure, 2015-16 will bring some excitement to Welsh-Ryan. Every player on this squad can dunk, and Law and Vassar have the ability to put down some ridiculous slams. Chris Collins' new era will be more than evident in 2015-16 when his recruits start to take over.