Depth and Northwestern basketball have been mutually exclusive for most of my fandom. Not anymore. Scout.com and Rivals.com are both reporting that 6-4 guard, Mislav Brzoja of Traders Point Christian Academy in Indiana has committed to Northwestern, however it is not a done deal quite yet. Brzoja must still be admitted to the school and he is awaiting admissions decision (insert “only at Northwestern” here). Brzoja had a pretty intense recruiting life cycle and was also courted by Kentucky, at one point being pointed to as Lamb’s replacement. Brzoja has settled on Dayton as his back-up school should he not be admitted to Northwestern.
If Brzoja’s high school rang a bell then you’ve been paying close attention. Brzoja was teammates with incoming freshman big man 6-11 Alex Olah. Olah also had some hang-ups around admission, but his issue was tied to signing the proper paperwork in the proper commitment time period. It is no secret that Northwestern has often gone to the Serbian and Croatian talent well,which always intrigues the heck out of me. They seem like tailor-made sports is life beyond the court type feature stories for HBO Real Sports. Well, Brzoja is a native of Croatia (born in 1994 to make you feel really old) and Olah is Serbian. The fact the two teammates are continuing to play together at the collegiate level makes this story that much richer.
Brzoja joins Olah and 6-7 Shurna-like build Kale Abrahamson (Valley (West Des Moines), IA) and 6-6 swingman Sanjay Lumpkin of Benide St. Margret’s (St. Louis Park, MN) as part of the four man incoming class. As we’ve noted before the incoming freshman class has talent and Olah and Abrahamson were expected to compete for minutes right away. The real joy in ‘Catville is around the injection of depth thanks to RS freshmen PG Tre Demps, who missed last year due to shoulder injury and F Michael Turner who took the year to develop. Additionally, TCU transfer 6-9 F Nikola Cerina also will be eligible in 2012 after sitting out last year. The above seven players will build around a core that includes Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb, David Sobolewski and Reggie Hearn. Sharpshooting senior Alex Marcotullio also returns. The number one priority for this group is the weight room as many of our bigs are slender builds and even though they’ll likely flourish on offense in the Carmody system (several are solid outside shooters), we need the bulk on defense to tackle the B1G bigs. Oh yeah, there is so much freakin’ depth, I somehow forgot to mention one year wonder to be, Louisville transfer PF Jared Swopshire who is cleared to play instantly and could very easily start after graduating from Pitino’s camp and seeing his minutes diminish significantly with the increase in talent among the 2012 Final Four entrant.
Northwestern has already signed highly touted 6-8 F Milos Kostic of Bishop Knoll just over the border in Hammond, Indiana for the 2013 class. So, once again, Northwestern fans are getting lured back in based on the what ifs and there are a lot of them. It is fair to say we will be using double digit players per game in 2012-2013 which is something I haven’t seen Bill Carmody do in his tenure. It will be fascinating to see the match-up combinations with so many options. Again, Brzoja has not been admitted so as usual the enthusiasm needs temperment.
In Case You Missed It…
Northwestern will host the Maryland Terrapins on November 27 at Welsh-Ryan Arena as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge. Time and network are still TBD, but this is a good attendance get for the ‘Cats early on – a sexy program name that is average. The Terps went 17-15 last year and 6-10 in the conference. The ‘Cats are seeking their fifth straight “Challenge” victory and are looking to move to .500 in the annual event (currently 6-7).
LTP TICKET CHALLENGE
I’m currently in the process of a whole host of Q&As with 2012 opponent blogs like BC, Nebraska, Illinois and others. One of the primary drivers for me is to get you up to speed and psyched about the pretty sweet 2012 schedule and help you convince your friends that it is time to step up in to season tickets. Simply put, getting a single season ticket is the only way you can ensure going to the Nebraska and Iowa games, which will be two sellouts for certain. Plus, the individual cost of the Nebraska game is $75 per ticket – if you can even get one. I expect that game to sellout in less than five minutes once single season ticket sales go live. So, let’s get going and bring in some new fans to the season ticket mix. Who’s next? Send your tales of converting friends or +1-ing your own package to firstname.lastname@example.org .