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Dererk Pardon to redshirt his freshman season

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The freshman center won't play this season.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman big man Dererk Pardon plans to redshirt during his freshman season at Northwestern, head coach Chris Collins announced Wednesday.

"He's got a huge upside," Collins said Wednesday. "And with the way our frontline is right now — now, certainly, you're one rolled ankle away from maybe not having to redshirt — but right now the plan is to get a year of development under his belt."

Pardon joined the Wildcats after a standout high school career at Villa Angela-St. Joseph in Cleveland. Collins had high praise for Pardon and many around the program were impressed and surprised by his development over the summer. While a bit undersized at six-foot-eight, Pardon boasts an impressive wingspan that allows him to play bigger.

Collins says Pardon will be an important player for the Wildcats down the road.

"All of a sudden, you put him in the freshman class next year and Vic in the sophomore class, and we still have a lot of young pieces in the program," Collins said.

Senior centers Alex Olah and Joey van Zegeren are expected to play the vast majority of the minutes inside this season.