The 2016-2017 season is a crucial one for the Northwestern Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins. Collins enters his fourth year, and the general consensus is that his program has to show significant signs of progress in order to reach the ultimate goal of making the NCAA tournament by the target year of 2018, when his first recruiting class will all be seniors. Collins has high expectations of a talented bunch of players, and they’ll need to show his expectations are not unfounded. With that, we run through every player on the roster this season. Next up is Jordan Ash, who will get the chance to be the primary backup for Bryant McIntosh.
Who he is:
Sophomore | Point Guard | 6-foot-3 | 190 pounds | Bolingbrook, Ill.
The numbers (2015-2016 season):
Via Shot Analytics
Jordan Ash did not attempt enough shots to get any reliable shot chart data. When he did shoot, he did not excel in any particular area.
Last season, Bryant McIntosh played 87.4 percent of available minutes at point guard. During games against top-tier opponents, he would often play for the entire game or sit for just a few minutes while Tre Demps led the attack. As a result, backup point guard Ash barely saw the court. It would be helpful if Northwestern had a capable backup point guard to give McIntosh a break, but we haven’t seen enough from Ash to guarantee that possibility. As of now, he should only receive significant playing time when Northwestern is up big or when McIntosh needs a few minutes of rest.
Jordan Ash averaged 5.6 minutes per game last year, so it’s hard to determine his strengths and weaknesses. He’s an average passer and ball-handler. He can also hit shots from close range. He showed some hops and good on-ball defense in limited playing time.
Jordan Ash is a bit undersized, and it showed when he faced Big Ten opposition last year. Because of this, he often cannot develop his own shot when needed, a problem that McIntosh also struggled with last season. Ash also did not shoot well from three, although that was an admittedly small sample size. Lastly, the fact that Chris Collins didn’t give him many minutes at all last year shows that he’s simply not better than McIntosh.
The fact that Jordan Ash saw very little playing time as a freshman leaves us with few expectations. When he did play, he didn’t exactly impress anyone, and while he didn’t have very many opportunities, there is no chance that he displaces anyone on the starting roster, barring injury. McIntosh is going to get between 82-87 percent of the available minutes, leaving Ash to come in when Northwestern is beating Mississippi Valley State by 25 points in the second half. Given Ash’s inexperience, Northwestern is in huge trouble if McIntosh misses any time.