Chris Collins has reeled in one of the best graduate transfers available: Former Evansville wing Ryan Taylor has committed to the Wildcats, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Evansville transfer Ryan Taylor has committed to Northwestern, sources told ESPN. Huge pickup for Chris Collins.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 9, 2018
As Goodman notes, this is a massive addition for Northwestern. Taylor, a Gary, Indiana native, averaged 21.3 points per game last season and shot over 42 percent from deep. He also shot over 86 percent from the free-throw line. The first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference selection, who will complete his undergraduate studies in May, will be immediately eligible for a Northwestern team that needs bodies badly. Two Northwestern players — guard Isiah Brown and forward Rapolas Ivanauskas — announced their intentions to transfer earlier in the offseason, and the Wildcats have multiple players still on the mend from various season-ending injuries.
Taylor can immediately bring a scoring boost — his 21.3 average was 20th in the nation last year — and significant experience to a Northwestern squad that will be quite young next year. Taylor sensed an opportunity here, per Goodman, and made a strong connection to Collins.
Evansville grad transfer Ryan Taylor on picking Northwestern: “The connection I made with Chris Collins and the staff was huge,” Taylor told ESPN. “And it seems like they are really hungry, especially after what happened last year.”— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 9, 2018
The importance of this commitment cannot be understated. Taylor was one of the most highly regarded transfers on the market and drew interest from several impressive programs such as Arizona, a handful of Big Tens and a plethora of others, per Goodman. Ultimately, he chose Northwestern over Indiana, Miami and Oregon. As a list like his would suggest, Taylor has earned plenty of high praise: After Taylor scored 23 on Arkansas State in the season opener, Red Wolves’ head coach Mike Balado said, “Ryan Taylor is one of the best guards in the country. I don’t care if he plays here or Duke. He’s very good.”
Taylor joins a wing group that includes Vic Law Jr., Aaron Falzon and A.J. Turner, who transferred in from Boston College last offseason and sat out last season due to transfer rules. The Wildcats also have Pete Nance and Miller Kopp as incoming freshman wings. The pure number of wings could create a long jam for minutes, but it also will give Collins a lot of versatility in terms of lineup choices.