Northwestern has plenty of targets in what it hopes is a loaded 2018 recruiting class, but one player is continuing to emerge as the top priority — Cormac Ryan.
This weekend was the second AAU evaluation period of the spring, and Chris Collins made sure to show love to his top recruit for a second straight weekend. Collins and a couple of his assistants were on hand to watch Ryan play for the NY Rens in Nike EYBL Session No. 2 in Indianapolis.
Northwestern sitting three-deep, led by Chris Collins, for ESPN 60 Cormac Ryan. Yale and Villanova with two assistants apiece.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 30, 2017
Ryan didn’t just play. He balled out, showing the shooting stroke and athleticism that has made him a top-65 player per three of the four major ranking services.
His shot wasn’t falling in the weekend opener on Friday night, but Ryan showed that he can make his impact felt in other areas when he isn’t hitting from deep. He scored just 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting (2 of 5 from deep), but added 7 rebounds, 2 steals and a team-high 6 assists in a losing performance.
On Saturday, Ryan showed off what makes him such a special player — his offensive arsenal. In the first game of the day, he scored 28 of his team’s 68 points in a close loss against fellow NU target Tim Finke. Ryan went 9 for 19 from the field, including 5 for 13 from long range.
Then he followed it up with another strong performance in the second game of the day. With his team looking to finally pick up a victory, Ryan was the clear best player on the floor in a game with several other top-100 recruits. He went for 29 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and a pair of assists while hitting 6 of his 12 three-point attempts.
The last of Ryan’s six threes was easily the most important. Trailing by 2 with less than ten seconds to play, Ryan brought the ball up, went behind his back, and buried the game-winning triple between two defenders.
That’s a seriously impressive display of poise, confidence and shot-making ability.
On Sunday, Ryan had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists but shot just 1 for 7 from deep as his team fell again. Still, it was a very strong weekend for the wing from Milton, MA. Here he comes up with a steal and uses his long strides to finish at the other end.
I went into more depth on Ryan and NU’s recruitment last week, so make sure to check that out if you aren’t familiar with him.
It really seems like Collins is all-in on Ryan. He’s a long, skilled player with great basketball IQ and a beautiful jumper who would fit in wonderfully at Northwestern.
Cormac Ryan (18/NY Rens) just knocked down his 4th triple vs RM5. Great shooter with perfect mechanics— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) April 29, 2017
Huge fan of Cormac Ryan of @NYRhoops as well. 6'5 guard that is ultra tough and can score it in a variety of ways, handles it well too.— Sam Lipply (@SamLipply) April 29, 2017
However, it remains to be seen if the Wildcats will land Ryan. I speculated last week that Teddy Greenstein’s article on Ryan seemed to suggest Northwestern might be in the lead for his services, but apparently that might not be true.
Cormac Ryan also said that he feels a recent Chicago Tribune story depicted Northwestern as his favorite, but he's still very open.— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) April 29, 2017
Additionally, Ryan’s strong AAU start could open up further national interest for a kid who already has an impressive offer sheet.
In an ideal world, Collins’ aggressive pursuit of Ryan would be enough to land a verbal commitment during the spring. That way, Northwestern would have the first member of its 2018 class secured and could move on to other targets and begin to assemble the best class in program history.