For Chris Collins and Northwestern, the 2018 recruiting class is a huge one. The 2018 class will come to Evanston after Collins’s program-shaping 2014 class — minus Vic Law Jr., who took a medical redshirt in 2015 — is gone.
And, after leading Northwestern to its first NCAA Tournament (yes, that actually happened), Collins finally has some tangible, national success to sell to recruits. He’s still selling a dream, but it’s a new dream — one of deep Tournament runs and the chance to help build a program that consistently lies among the Big Ten’s elite.
With that being said, here are all of Northwestern’s targets for the 2018 class. We focused on 10 of them, grouping them by the potential impact they would have on the program.
Potential future pros who can elevate Northwestern to Big Ten title contention
Yes, that Nance family. Pete, the son of retired-NBAer Larry Nance Sr. and younger brother of current Los Angeles Laker Larry Nance Jr., is of high priority for Northwestern. At 6-foot-8, Nance is a slender player with a funky game. He handles the ball well for his size and has the ability to hit shots with decent range, but he can post-up smaller wings too and uses his length to his advantage defensively. The Richfield, Ohio native has Northwestern in his top three schools, along with Ohio State and Michigan. Despite being a former powerhouse, Ohio State is in shambles right now, and although Michigan ran through the Big Ten Tournament last season, the Wolverines aren’t perennially at the top of the conference like Wisconsin and Michigan State typically are. It certainly appears possible Northwestern could land Nance, who is ranked as a top-40 player in the country by 247.
Dosunmu, who hails from nearby Morgan Park, has been on Northwestern’s radar for a while, and appears to have NU in the mix for his services. Ranked No. 26 in his class by 247, Dosunmu would easily be the top recruit in Northwestern history. Right now it seems like Illinois, Creighton, Butler, Xavier and Northwestern are the main schools going after him. If Collins can land Dosunmu as the heir to Bryant McIntosh, we may be talking about Northwestern in a very different way in the grand scheme of Big Ten basketball.
Cohill is another combo guard who is in a recruiting tier higher than Collins has ever previously reached. He currently has offers from Northwestern, Ohio State, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Xavier and Butler among others. He’s great at getting into the lane and creating offense, so he could potentially take over at point guard if he does end up in Evanston. Cohill is also a great outside shooter who could play alongside a more traditional point guard. Cohill has had interest in NU for quite some time, and the Wildcats are definitely in play for his services.
Players who can continue the forward momentum and would be major gets for Collins
Here he is, the most talked about recruit in Northwestern circles this year. Not a whole lot has happened since we wrote about Teddy Greenstein’s Chicago Tribune story that seemed to possibly imply that Ryan is at the top of Northwestern’s recruiting list, but a commitment from Ryan — whether it be to Northwestern or somewhere else — is likely coming this summer or early in the fall. Ryan is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Milton, MA, though it’s plausible that Collins views him as a taller B-Mac at point guard. Michigan, Villanova and Notre Dame are also in the hunt for Ryan, but Northwestern probably needs him more than those three schools. Stanford is also a legitimate contender at this point. Three different 247Sports predictions all have Ryan pegged to Northwestern, though. We’ll see what happens, but this is a big one for Chris Collins.
Finke, the younger brother of Illinois forward Michael Finke, would be a nice addition for Northwestern, though it seems Illinois and Vanderbilt are in the lead for his commitment right now. He’s another long shooter who could help assuage the loss of Scottie Lindsey.
Horton-Tucker, an AAU teammate of Dosunmo’s, is another local recruit. Northwestern offered him last October, and he fits the versatile, athletic wing mold Collins is so fond of. He has a sturdier build than many of the wings Northwestern has had, though, making him an intriguing prospect. He also holds Illinois, Missouri and Iowa State offers.
The guys who would be solid pick-ups and Northwestern probably needs to get at least one or two of
A Houston area forward, Kopp has received a bevy of offers recently, rising up recruiting boards. Right now, he has Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Houston, Wichita State and Kansas State as his top five. He’s a good shooter, but also has the ability to finish around the rim. He’ll probably get more offers as he garners more national attention, but Northwestern is in the thick of things for him right now.
Bey, who hails from the DC area, is another guy who has skyrocketed in popularity as of late. An injury to a teammate gave him a larger role for his Sidwell Friends high school team, which led to a host of offers going his way. Florida, Georgetown, Davidson, Miami, NC State and Pitt are also in pursuit of Bey at the moment. A 6-foot-6 small forward, Bey too fits the long, athletic profile Collins has sought out on the recruiting trail.
Northwestern offered Lathon, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Grandview, Missouri, just last week. He also holds offers from Illinois, Iowa State and Wake Forest. He isn’t quite as highly rated as some of the other guards Northwestern has offered, but he would be a good piece to have nonetheless, especially with McIntosh gone.
Based on Battin’s offer sheet, Northwestern has to be at or the near the top of his list. Northwestern and Utah are the only Power 5 schools to offer Battin, a 6-foot-9, 220 pound center, but he also holds an offer from Davidson of the Atlantic 10. Dererk Pardon will be a senior in 2018-2019 and Barret Benson a junior, so adding some frontcourt depth would be valuable. Battin is the only player above 6-foot-8 Collins has offered for the 2018 class, so he’s likely pretty confident in his ability to land the three-star big man from the Los Angeles area. It seems probable that Collins will go harder after big men in the 2019 and/or 2020 classes to help replace his current duo.
Those are arguably the top 10 most notable names at the moment, but here are the rest.
Players we haven’t heard much traction on
You can view the 247 ratings and rankings of all 16 players Northwestern has offered here.