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Northwestern Wildcats Hope Combo Guard Jordan Ash Can Play Pivotal Role in 2015-16

Chris Collins snagged another solid recruit with local talent Jordan Ash. What will he bring to Northwestern next year?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Upgrading athletically is one objective for head coach Chris Collins. Luckily for Collins, Northwestern exists in an area rich with high school basketball talent. In other words, Collins doesn't have to travel far to find athletic upgrades. Unfortunately for Collins, though, the Wildcats aren't traditionally seen as a destination for the talented high school players from the metro-Chicago area. Sometimes it only takes one to switch things up and Collins is hoping that combo guard Jordan Ash could be the start of a new tradition.

Ash is a 6'2", 185 pound lefty combo guard from Saint Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois. He received offers from Depaul and Purdue while Illinois and Indiana also expressed interest in the guard. Ash will elevate Northwestern athletically, but he's more than just pure athleticism. Let's take a look at his game.

Scouting Report
Ash can get out in the open floor and he attacks the basket well in those scenarios. Ash can finish above the rim and with either hand. He does attack the rim aggressively and without fear, so if given an opening, Ash'll finish strong. He's capable of hitting an outside jumper, even though he typically prefers attacking the basket instead. In particular, Ash is a very active player. For his size, he can navigate for offensive rebounds and putbacks. thanks to his athleticism. He's also pretty disruptive defensively, getting in passing lanes and deflecting passes. He'll probably guard multiple wings in college.

More importantly, his defense can turn into offense. If allowed he'll create easy buckets in transition for himself and teammates. Aaron Falzon is a great complement to Jordan Ash, as Ash will open up scoring opportunities for Falzon through his defense and drive-and-kick game.

While he's not a point guard, he can handle the ball in traffic. His ballhandling is sufficient enough for him to change directions and be creative getting to the basket. Ash is also smart and unselfish. Some basically describe him as a winning player as he has shown the ability to makes plays to help his team win. When everything is said and done, that's definitely something Northwestern and Chris Collins need to help rebuild the Wildcats.

Opportunities for Improvement
Ash will need to get stronger. He appears to play well through contact and isn't afraid to attack the basket. He's also pretty crafty, but he'll face stronger and more athletic defenders in the Big Ten. He'll also need the quickness to stick with more athletic wings. He has the athletic foundation to do it, but taking a step up will require growth physically. If he can continue to develop his jumper he'll be quite dangerous and that'll definitely open up driving lanes.  He looks comfortable on the perimeter, but his natural athletic ability allows him to attack the basket with great success. ESPN calls him a streaky shooter, indicating he'll need to work on being more consistent from outside.

Outlook
By all accounts Ash has a great work ethic and has already improved greatly skill-wise. Ash will definitely get opportunities at Northwestern as he tries to help his program to become more relevant at the top of the conference. Northwestern needs athletes and Ash easily fills that void. He's also a pretty skilled basketball player and if he continues to grow, he'll be a factor for the Wildcats in the near future.

What's broadly encouraging is Collins's recruiting success thus far in Evanston. At a school that holds academics higher than athletics, he's working well under those rigorous conditions. Aaron Falzon and now Jordan Ash are two solid building blocks to help build up the program heading forward. Once you consider the fact that Ash is a local kid, an area Northwestern has struggled to recruit, and Collins is creating hope that he's crafting a potential winner at Northwestern. Now fans are hoping the turnaround under Collins will finally start translating into some wins.