Heading into the 2015 season, Northwestern features one of its deepest teams in years. While head coach Chris Collins has said his preference would be to play only eight or nine players, he acknowledges that he might have to coach this Northwestern team a lot like Iowa's Fran McCaffery has coached in recent years, using a deep bench. At least at the onset, few players -- other than the Wildcats' established starters -- have appeared to separate themselves. Thus, we are going in-depth on each of Northwestern's scholarship players, providing insight into each players' potential role.
Up now is sophomore Scottie Lindsey:
Stats to know
Shot chart (via ShotAnalytics.com)
Lindsey, last year, showed an ability to light it up from the wings, posting above average numbers from both sides. Curiously, he's much weaker from the corners, which is often a more efficient shot than than the wing three. Look for him to improve around the basket this year, having added bulk in the offseason that should help him finish close to the rim.
Lindsey is a 6-foot-5, athletic wing from Hillside, IL, about an hour's drive from Welsh-Ryan Arena. A young player, it showed last year, in particular during conference play. Despite that, as a sophomore this year, head coach Chris Collins expects big things from the Fenwick High School product. Both Lindsey and fellow sophomore Vic Law are big for their position, so when they share the court together expect them to try and smother opposing wings. Lindsey is just as athletic as the high-flying Law, with a willingness to get out in the open floor and finish at the rim. Defensively, his long arms and quick feet allow him to recover quickly and surprise some opponents by poking the ball away when they least expect it, but he often found himself a bit out of position last season. Collins wants Lindsey to have a big impact on both sides of the floor this year.
One of Lindsey's major strengths is his athleticism. It enables everything he does on the court, from flying with the ball in transition to recovering and getting surprise blocks on defense. His size is a strength, as well, because he is taller than most other 2-guards but remains quick, allowing him to stay in front of them defensively. He also has a pretty shot that should improve with time. He seems to have worked on his offense in the offseason and he even led the team in scoring in two of their four exhibition games across the pond in Spain. Collins hopes that trend continues, saying, "We're going to need him to put the ball in the basket. He needs to be a guy who can be a double-figure scorer for us."
While Collins, fairly, expects big things from Lindsey on offense, he also wants him to be a disruptor on defense. This is something Lindsey is going to need to work on to master. Last year at times, especially during conference play, Lindsey would get lost on defense and lose track of his man; in Big Ten play, you can't take a play off or have a moment's mind lapse, something Lindsey should learn in time. Partly, this is where his youth comes in. That youth, combined with an already steep learning curve defensively for most players, explains a lot of his struggles and no one would be surprised to see him elevate his game defensively this season. The tools are there: quickness, length, athleticism. Along with his comparative youth, he broke his leg during his senior season in high school, forcing him to miss most of that season. Missing those critical games developmentally is another sign that he could be headed for a breakout this year.
Collins expects Lindsey to play heavy minutes this year on the wing, where he will team up with Law to smother teams with their swarming, long-armed defense. But any defensive prowess will be icing on the cake for Collins, who wants and expects Lindsey to be one of the leading scorers on this team. "You have to be able to manufacture points and I think he's one of the guys who can be one of the scorers for our team," Collins said. After averaging 15 minutes a game last season as a freshman, look for that number to be bumped up–especially with Dave Sobolewski and JerShon Cobb having graduated–to around 25 or 30 per game.
What to expect
Collins expects big things from Lindsey this season. He worked hard on his game in the offseason and it showed in Spain. He should be one of the guys Northwestern turns to when it needs a bucket and if his defense can improve, then he could become a two-way hound in the Big Ten no one will be excited to matchup against. "He's a wing guy that should be able to impact both ends of the floor," Collins said.