Sunday, April 10, 2011

Future of Program Starts with Recruiting

It may be stating the obvious, but even coming off a successful season no Northwestern basketball fan should feel totally confident at future success. Why? Well, because simply stated Northwestern has never sustained basketball success over the long term because they’ve never been able to consistently recruit. That’s why even three NITs in a row is remarkable, but really NU’s attempt and sustained success (or semi-success) starts with next season. The Wildcats will have to replace Juice Thompson who was probably the most valuable player on those postseason teams and the year after will have to replace their entire front court depth chart from the past two seasons. That means that the success of this year’s freshman class and next year’s recruits (high school class of 2012) is critical. Right now, Northwestern has two quality guards signed in David Sobolewski and Tre Demps. Sobolewski is said to be more of a natural point guard whereas Demps is more of a combo guard. Both should help NU right away, though, I wouldn’t be shocked if JerShon Cobb and Alex Marcotullio start next year as NU’s backcourt simply based on experience. Northwestern also has 6-8 Mike Turner from Chicago U-High signed up to play at NU next year. Some rate Turner as a project, but his reported athletic skill does have me excited to watch him play defense. However, at just 6-8 and with a thin frame Turner likely isn’t the major cog in the front court wheel that NU desperately needs or will need in the near future. That’s why fans need to pay attention as we hit the spring signing period to see if NU can land any of their big man targets.

The name that is actually out there right now is 6-10 John Cannon from North Carolina who reportedly has another BCS offer from Georgia and a walk-on offer at North Carolina. That’s tough competition for NU, but it sure sounds like Cannon could be an impact player at NU right away while sitting on the bench at those other two schools. Hopefully, that’s something Bill Carmody tries to sell the young man on as I know that sitting on the bench is not something many former high school stars enjoy. Of course, if Cannon does go elsewhere that makes one wonder if NU will get a spring big man recruit. Rumors have also surfaced about foreign players and JUCO players, but no names have ever appeared. Perhaps NU is trying to keep their efforts under the radar, but the fact is I really think this spring’s recruiting class will say a lot about NU’s future and we as fans need to watch closely.

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