At this moment, Northwestern basketball has 13 players on scholarship for the 2016-17 season. You can take a look at the entire roster breakdown here, but it consists of two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and three incoming freshmen. But, it also includes Johnnie Vassar, who is still on scholarship, but wasn't a part of the team this season and announced his desire to transfer at this time last year.
While it's unclear if a resolution to Vassar's strange situation will be made before the start of next year, it's certainly a possibility, which would then open up a scholarship spot for Chris Collins. That leaves Collins two ways to add another player that would be eligible to play in 2016-17: Pick up a graduate transfer, or snag a late class of 2016 commitment.
With all of the coaching changes in college basketball — in addition to the other factors that lead players to switch schools — there's no shortage of both graduate transfers and regular transfers (who have to sit out a season after going to a new program), many of whom were effective players with their previous team.
Northwestern entered the transfer market last offseason to bring in grad transfer Joey van Zegeren from Virginia Tech, an old ACC foe of Chris Collins' during his time as Duke. While van Zegeren wasn't a huge difference-maker for the Wildcats in his one year in Evanston, he provided needed frontcourt depth and was a good rebounder and interior defender.
Now, with van Zegeran out of eligibility — and Alex Olah and Tre Demps graduated — scoring and depth down low could be issues for the 2016-17 Wildcats. But perimeter scoring, and more specifically a guard to complement Bryant McIntosh, are the biggest needs
Northwestern was reported to have interest in Indianapolis native Kellon Thomas, a point guard who graduated from Kent State with an extra year of eligibility. While certainly not a big, a guy like Thomas -- who averaged 12.3 points for the Golden Flashes in his senior campaign -- could help carry the load in the backcourt with Bryant McIntosh.
However, Thomas committed to hometown IUPUI on Sunday, choosing the Jaguars over Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota and some other mid-majors.
Another interesting name Northwestern has been linked to is College of Charleston grad transfer Canyon Barry, the youngest son of Basketball Hall of Fame member Rick Barry. Like his dad, Barry shoots his free throws underhanded and is also a pretty good scorer (19.7 points per game last season). Canyon's a bigger guard, standing at 6-foot-6, and has Northwestern in his final six along with some other pretty good programs.
In an interesting turn of events, Northwestern is also in the mix for Chicago native Charlie Moore, who decommitted from Memphis after Josh Pastner was hired by Georgia Tech (and assistant Damon Stoudamire took the top job at Portland). Moore's AAU coach -- the alma mater of former Northwestern defensive end Corbin Bryant -- reportedly spoke to Chris Collins over the weekend. He also said Moore would visit Northwestern before finalizing his commitment.
Moore is a small guard, under 6-foot, but was Illinois' Mr. Basketball in 2016 and, according to 247, is the 77th best player in the Class of 2016. Granted, many teams will likely be vying for Moore but it's clear he's interested in Northwestern. It's definitely a situation to monitor should news break on the Johnnie Vassar front.
Northwestern is also reportedly in on Richmond, Ind. shooting guard Desmond Bane, who unleashed this incredible dunk during his senior season at Seton Catholic. Bane, 6-foot-5, is very athletic but doesn't have a huge presence on recruiting sites even with his gaudy 2015-16 stats (30 points and 11.5 rebounds per game). He has a couple of offers from mid-majors but has received interest from Purdue and Xavier in addition to Northwestern.
Also, his AAU program — Indiana Elite — has produced a ton of college and NBA talent, most notably Yogi Ferrell, Mason and Marshall Plumlee and Eric Gordon, among others. Whether that Duke connection to Collins helps the Wildcats out in the pursuit of Bane is unknown, but it probably can't hurt.