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Northwestern Wildcats Still Recruiting, Even Without Scholarship Available

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Chris Collins is looking for a guard for the 2016-2017 season, but his roster is currently full.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

This Spring, the Northwestern Wildcats have been pursuing multiple transfers to sign to their team.  But there is an issue with this.  As of now, the athletic department has not reported that there is an open scholarship available.

Johnnie Vassar left the team after the 2014-2015 season, but he is still currently enrolled at Northwestern.  Northwestern is honoring Vassar's scholarship, and it will be his for as long as he is at Northwestern. He is currently enrolled at Northwestern for Spring Quarter and has not reported that he will be transferring at this point.

Vassar announced his transfer at the end of the 2014-2015 season with a statement on Twitter saying he wanted to "attend a school where I can play a more integral role on the court while continuing to excel in my studies." He played in 18 games during his freshman season, averaging under four minutes per game.

Without the announcement of a player transferring, Chris Collins' pursuit of a transfer is raising some questions.

As of now, no schools have reported interest in Vassar as a transfer, which means he may not be actively pursing a spot on another team's roster.

At this point, there are a few questions that can be answered.  Northwestern is pursuing a guard, which likely means that any speculation of redshirt senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin transferring is unlikely.

SB Nation's Northwestern site, Inside NU and 247 Sports have been actively reporting on the story since the news of the possibility of a transfer was reported in early April.

Northwestern has showed interest in three guards: Kellon Thomas from Kent State, Canyon Barry from College of Charleston, and high school senior Charlie Moore. Kellon Thomas and Kenyon Barry are both graduate transfers but Thomas committed to IUPUI in mid- April.

Charlie Moore decommitted from Memphis after head coach John Paster left for Georgia Tech.  Northwestern was one of the first schools to get in contact with him after he announced his decommittment.  Moore announced to Twitter last week that Northwestern is no longer on his list of schools he is considering to attend in the fall.

Canyon Barry has not announced his commitment yet. As of early April, he narrowed his list to seven schools, and Northwestern was on it.  He visited Northwestern last weekend and is expected to be announcing his commitment soon.

So why is Collins aggressively pursuing a transfer?

It could be for a number of reasons.  He may be anticipating that Vassar might transfer, and wants to have prospective players ready.  He may be pursuing one in hopes that Vassar will transfer once the player is ready to commit. Chris Collins pursued the transfer market last season and landed center Joey Van Zegren, who provided depth at the center position and split minutes with Alex Olah at the beginning of the season and then Dererk Pardon starting in December when Alex Olah was injured.

Nonetheless, with Thomas committing to another school and Moore dropping Northwestern from his list, all eyes will be on Canyon Barry and Northwestern's scholarship chart for this upcoming season.  Whatever Collins' reasoning is, it will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next few weeks.