2016 4-star recruit Rapolas Ivanauskas recently committed to Northwestern and he will add to a talented roster when he joins the team in the 2016-2017 season. Coach Chris Collins has brought in some high-level recruits in his tenure at Northwestern and Ivanauskas is just another recent example of Collins' recruiting success. Ivanauskas is the 117th best player in the country from the class of 2016 and is the 22nd ranked small forward, according to 247Sports.
Breakdown of Rapolas Ivanauskas
Ivanasukas is another strong power forward that will help Northwestern after 4-star recruit Aaron Falzon and 3-star recruit Derek Pardon signed with the Wildcats from the class of 2015. Ivanasukas will add scoring ability from both inside and out and will have the ability to be the go-to guy for Northwestern because of his impressive scoring ability. He also is not afraid to attack the rim and although he is not the most athletic player around, he can still get above the rim. Of course, Ivanauskas will still have to put on some size if he wants to takeover in the low post, but if he can develop his post game, he could be a dual threat from outside and around the paint for the Wildcats.
Here's some highlight video of Ivanauskas:
What does this mean for Northwestern?
Coach Collins has shown that he can bring in talented recruits from all over the country, but Northwestern still has not managed to make their first ever NCAA tournament. Next season, the Wildcats have many key players returning like seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah. Vic Law starts his sophomore campaign this season after a very impressive freshman year and Collins' talented 2015 recruiting class should help out immediately, especially Falzon. The frontcourt seems to be a problem for the Wildcats, which is why Falzon will help out tremendously, as will Ivanauskas during the 2016-2017 season.
Northwestern's program has been heading the right direction ever since Collins stepped in, with recruiting being a major reason why Northwestern has been successful in recent years. Ivanauskas, Falzon and Law are big time recruits that show loads of potential for the program. When Ivanauskas joins the team in 2016, the Wildcats will have a great mix of young talent and veteran leadership, which could eventually lead them to their first ever NCAA tournament berth.
Northwestern is not an easy game anymore in the Big Ten and talented recruits are a big reason why. The Wildcats might not compete for the Big Ten championship next season, but the team will gain some experience with their talented incoming 2015 recruiting class. During the past two seasons the Wildcats have been near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, but the team has had some big wins as well, showing that the Wildcats are becoming stronger every year. With a new set of recruits coming in, the Wildcats could make some noise during conference play in the near future.
The 2015-2016 season for Northwestern should be an above average year for the program, but with the recent verbal commitment of Ivanauskas, the 2016-2017 season could be a great one.