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Northwestern men’s basketball to host four highly-touted recruits

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The Wildcats will host three five star and one four star recruit this weekend, and the timing couldn’t be better.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Penn State vs Northwestern Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a huge weekend in Evanston. Notre Dame is coming to Ryan Field for a huge game, and the new Welsh-Ryan Arena opens when the men’s basketball team hosts McKendree Friday. It’s also a big weekend from a recruiting standpoint. Chris Collins and his staff will play host to elite prospects Patrick Baldwin Jr., Max Christie, Caleb Furst, and DJ Steward, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports.

Baldwin Jr. is a consensus five star recruit out Hamilton High School in Sussex, Wisconsin. He is the number one overall player in the class of 2021 according to ESPN and number two according to 247Sports. At 6-foot-8-inches and 190 pounds, Baldwin Jr. has a guard skillset that’s comparable to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. His rare combination of size and skill gives him lottery pick potential.

Baldwin Jr. is heavily connected to NU as both his parents went here. His father, Pat Sr., played basketball for the Wildcats and graduated as the all-time leader in steals and assists. He was an assistant coach under Chris Collins for four years before taking the head coaching job at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Christie is also a five star and the number one player in Illinois for the Class of 2021. He is a big, lanky guard at 6-feet-6-inches and uses his length to score from all three levels.

Furst, 6-feet-8-inches and 205 pounds, rounds out the five-star trio of 2021s. He is the No. 2 player in Indiana and No. 30 player nationally according to 247Sports. The lefty is an athletic big who runs the floor well. He can shoot a little, but prefers to stay in the paint.

Steward is a Chicago native who transferred from Fenwick High School in Oak Park to national power Whitney Young for his upcoming junior season. He played for Rick Malnati at Fenwick, the father of Northwestern junior Tino Malnati.

Steward, a four star in the Class of 2020, is an athletic point guard. He can do a little bit of everything: shoot, pass, drive, and defend. His tight handle makes him hard to stay in front of and he’s a capable three point shooter.

Scheduling three five-stars and one-four star to visit at the same time is a smart play by Collins. The timing is also perfect as this will likely be the biggest sports weekend of the year. It’s good that Collins and his staff are getting them on campus early in their recruiting process, because landing any of them would be huge, even though that’s a long way out.