A Northwestern power forward target, Nathan Reuvers, committed to Big Ten West foe Wisconsin earlier this week. With Sanjay Lumpkin and Nate Taphorn graduating in 2017, Chris Collins and his staff are looking to fill the production of two of his forwards and add depth to his roster
Sanjay Lumpkin was initially recruited as a point guard, but as moved to the wing to primarily play a defensive role in games. In the 2015-2016 season, he averaged 23.7 minutes a game and averaged 3.8 points per game. He had 5 rebounds per game. To replace Lumpkin, Chris Collins and his staff can add a guard that can play on the wing or a forward.
Nathan Taphorn was recruited as a small forward and is primarily an asset on offense with his outside shooting. Taphorn struggles defensively in the zone but is better in man-to-man defense. Chris Collins added a wing shooter in his 2015 class with Aaron Falzon, and in his 2016 class with wing player Rapolas Ivanauskas. Chris Collins and his staff have more flexibility for what they can recruit at this position. They have depth on the wings with Vic Law, Gavin Skelly, Aaron Falzon and soon Rapolas Ivanauskas, but adding another shooter that can also drive to the basket would be important.
This 2017 recruiting class is arguably the most important recruiting class in the Chris Collins era so far. Nate Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin are the two remaining players on the roster from Bill Carmody's reign as Northwestern head coach. This class carries a lot of weight because Northwestern is looking to make their first NCAA tournament appearance in the next few years, and this class that comes in will mark the first time in his coaching career at Northwestern that Chris Collins has a full roster of recruits from his staff. The re-building era of Northwestern Basketball will end with this class.
By the way Chris Collins and his staff have recruited this class so far, it is evident that they are looking for the best quality players. Similar to the 2016 class, the players that have offered so far have also picked up other offers from Big Ten schools. A few recruits in the class also have offers from ACC schools and the reigning National Champion team, Villanova. There are only two players out of the 9 they have offered that don't have Big Ten offers at this point: Small Forward Savion Flagg from Alvin Texas and Power Forward Tomas Murphy out of Northfield Massachusetts. Tomas Murphy attends Northfield Mount Hermon High School, the same high school that current forward Aaron Falzon attended.
At this point it is not evident that any of the recruits that Northwestern has offered have shown more interest in Northwestern compared to the other schools they hold offers from. Last year, Chris Collins and his staff had their 2016 class in the summer of 2015. This year, they will look to do the same as they begin preparations for the upcoming season.