Yesterday was college basketball’s national signing day. The Wildcats added only two players to their future roster, but in terms of quality, they did very well. Jaren Sina, a 6-1 point guard from New Jersey, Carmody and Fred Hill’s home state, inked his pledge to Northwestern making him one of the most highly decorated recruits the school has ever signed. Sina has been an ESPN and Scout.com Top 100 overall player according to their recruiting services. With seniors Drew Crawford, Reggie Hearn and Alex Marcotullio opening up roster spots next year, Sina, is an instant impact guy who will likely get worked in to evenutally take the reigns of David Sobolewski. Separately, Nate Taphorn, a slender 6-7 lights-out shooter from Pekin, IL, fills the continuing pipeline of John Shurna/Kale Abrahamson types, albeit with a different release. Local high school hoops dads rave to me about this kid and how, just like Shurna, opponents don’t take him seriously because of his looks and by the time they realize it, he’s dropped five treys on them. Rivals ranks Nate as the 9th best deep shooter in the nation. Congratulations to Bill Carmody and his staff and welcome aboard Jaren and Nate, we’re thrilled to have you as part of the Northwestern community.
‘Cats Continue NBA-like Schedule
Northwestern was the last B1G program to tip-off its season, but they’ll be catching the pack in terms of total games quickly. Just 48 hours after the season opener, Northwestern returns to Welsh-Ryan arena to host the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (0-2) who are off to a shaky start after bowing to Western Kentucky (59-58) in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Chico Potts moved up to head coach of the Delta Devils, who play in the SWAC, the same conference as NU’s opening night opponent, Texas Southern. Northwestern faced MVSU last year and throttled them 92-67 in a shooting expedition that tied the alltime NU record of 20 three pointers in a game. The Delta Devils got pounded 102-60 at Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
The game is on BTN.com and WGN 720 AM radio. Don’t feel like a fool for being tethered to your computer to watch this game, it’s a great opportunity to finally see Nikola Cerina in the post (DNP personal reasons on Tuesday) and continue to see which personnel combos gel. Of course, fans are expecting consistency from Crawford, Hearn and Sobo, but many eyes will be on Kale Abrahamson to see if he can repeat his inspiring second half sharp shooting. His 15 points were the most by a freshman in an opener since Juice Thompson debuted with 16 back in 2007.
Drew Crawford, who eclipsed the 1300 point mark Tuesday, needs just 12 points to jump from 15th on the alltime NU scoring list to leapfrog past #13, Joe Ruklick. I’ll be curious to see if NU goes wire-to-wire with man-to-man play again tonight.
Colter, Mr. Tough Guy
Teddy Greenstein profiled Kain Colter and his injury on Saturday, which we now know to be a sprained ankle. Teddy’s feature also highlights Fitz’s commentary that indeed Michigan State is the best defense NU will have faced. There is a nice anecdote about Fitz’s video collection on Dantonio’s trickeration plays, since we all know the “taking the cheese” moment is one that Fitz won’t soon forget. The article also notes no decision on VanHoose’s availability for this weekend and even has a quote about Fitz making a statement that NU is in the ultraconservative side of this and causes a slight eyebrow raise by inferring that other programs don’t do this.
The Luke Donald Effect
It’s rare that collegiate golf news earns its way in to an LTP post, but Northwestern landed a huge recruiting coup in men’s golf. Matt Fitzpatrick, the second ranked 18-and-under player in the world, committed to Pat Goss and the ‘Cats earlier this week. Fitzpatrick is from Sheffield, England, and no doubt Luke Donald’s career had an impact on this recruit. Goss acknowledged this signee as the most significant recruit since former Wildcat Luke Donald committed to NU. Fitzpatrick is the #11 ranked amateur in the entire world. Click here for more info.
Recruiting Rumor Mill
Star QB Matt Alviti got knocked out of the IHSA state playoffs last week in an upset. Glenbard North did the deed and it was primarily star RB Justin Jackson’s doing. Jackson has exploded this year in Illinois high school football and I’m getting some whispers that he may be leaning towards Northwestern. WildcatReport.com recently had an interview with Jackson where he discussed his collegiate prospects and he is giving Fitz and NU high marks. The 6-0, 180 pound back is getting pressed by Iowa, BC, Illinois, Indiana and of course NU, but the likes of Oregon and others are now starting to sniff around.
Coming Up Later Today…
Programming alert. The weekly “Top Ten Random Word Associations” Michigan State edition is in the que. Be sure to comment below and offer up your word association that you think should be in consideration.