In late September, Northwestern and Chris Collins got its first verbal commitment from the Class of 2017. Last week, it became official when Gaines signed his National Letter of Intent.
Officially a Wildcat ✍ pic.twitter.com/c3yiEBhXLX— Anthony Gaines (@AnthonyGaines9) November 10, 2016
After much dispute and concern regarding the program’s ability to recruit, the commitment of Anthony Gaines, an athletic three-star wing from New Hampton, New Hampshire, represented a continued trend upward in recruiting for the program.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is Gaines’ commitment quelled the doubts surrounding recruiting after Collins had missed out on his previous top targets.
The significance of being the first, and still the only, commitment of his class, however, has not fazed Gaines, who committed just four days after making his official visit to Evanston.
“I haven’t thought too much about being the first commit of my class,” Gaines told Inside NU. “But I am excited to help the coaches bring other players in and build the program.”
It was the entire program that helped make Northwestern an easy decision for the 6-foot-4 wing. To no surprise, the campus and academics helped contribute to Gaines’ decision, as did his official visit. Gaines had an opportunity to talk to the team and see the impact that Coach Collins has made on the program.
“The staff emphasized to me my role in contributing to the team’s success as well as the education I will be receiving at a school like Northwestern. I believe that the basketball program and academics will put me in the best position to be successful.”
Although his parents did not accompany him on his official visit, Gaines felt at home and among a second family at Northwestern from the start. During his visit, the closeness of the team and the program as a whole was a main point of emphasis.
“I had a lot of time to spend with the players,” Gaines told Inside NU. “It was great to talk with players like Sanjay Lumpkin, who were there before Coach Collins was and were able to talk about the difference he [Collins] has made to the program.”
Gaines, ranked within the top 200 of his class per 247 Sports, has high hopes for his time at Northwestern. He’ll play his first year at Allstate Arena and his last three at the newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena.
“I am being given an amazing opportunity to play at the Allstate Arena my freshman year as well as the new Welsh-Ryan my following years at Northwestern,” Gaines said.
After running with the Albany City Rocks in the EYBL this summer, Gaines’ recruitment picked up steam. He averaged nearly 14.7 points and 9 rebounds per game, and chose Northwestern over Butler, Dayton and Providence, among others. And his goals for his time at Northwestern, they’re music Coach Collins’ ears.
“I want to make an impact on and off the court, to come in and help the basketball program grow as well as becoming a better basketball player,” he told InsideNU. “I also want to push myself in the classroom to receive the great education that I am being offered.”