Northwestern hasn't seen a player go in the draft since the 1990's, but in the next few years, that could all change. Chris Collins and his staff have brought in stellar recruits the past few years. Although they have only been in the program two years, there are many players on the roster that have NBA potential.
In recent years, Northwestern graduates have had success playing overseas. Reggie Hearn is the only current Northwestern player on an NBA roster, currently playing for the Reno Bighorns most recently. In 2017, the final recruits of the Bill Carmody era will graduate. Sanjay Lumpkin and Nathan Taphorn are the players in that class. Between the two of them, Sanjay Lumpkin may have some NBA potential.
Lets take a look.
He is going to have to have quite a redshirt senior season in order to really wow scouts and make it in to the draft, but I would not count him out quite yet. Sanjay Lumpkin is a versatile defender. Chris Collins always called Sanjay his best defender. He is famously known for his last second defensive play against Malcolm Hill in the Illinois game that allowed Northwestern to win the game.
Lumpkin's offensive game is another story. He rarely shoots the ball, so he gets lost on the offensive side often. Defenders are aware that when the ball is in his hands he most-likely won't shoot. This upcoming season, if he can establish himself as a dual threat on both ends of the court, he'll have an outside shot at getting drafted in the NBA.
What about the 2018 class?
It's stacked with potential NBA talent.
Bryant McIntosh is one of the best point guards in the Big Ten. This past season, he ranked second in the Big Ten in assists, averaging 6.7 per game. The only player ahead of him, you may ask? Denzel Valentine. Chris Collins has said over and over again that McIntosh is one of the best players in the Big Ten. Although he struggled shooting the ball towards the end of conference play, he was still dishing out assists in every game. He showed NBA potential in many games he played this season. The game that stands out the most, however, is the Wisconsin game in January. He went 10-19 from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc, and 6-8 at the charity stripe.
McIntosh still has two years left at Northwestern. As he said on a podcast with SB Nation's Northwestern site, InsideNU, he needs to gain weight, become a more consistent shooter and a better defender in order to play at the next level. Over the next two seasons, McIntosh will have the opportunity to improve his game. If he continues to improve, he definitely will have a chance to hear his name called on draft night.
Scottie Lindsey showed NBA potential this past season. Although he struggled on the court at different points, he is a streaky shooter. When he started to get it going from beyond the arc, he could knock down two or three shots in a row. He has a similar playing style to Tre Demps and if he continues to develop over the next two years he will have a chance to hear his name called at the NBA Draft.
Vic Law missed this past season due to injury. However, he is the best recruit Chris Collins has brought to Northwestern. If he can continue to develop his strong play on the defensive end of the ball and continue to shoot well on the offensive end, in 2019 he may hear his name called.
Falzon has only played one season at Northwestern, but he is dangerous once he starts shooting well from beyond the arc. If he can continue to shoot well from the floor and drive more in the lane, He may be a player that hears his name called in the 2019 Draft.
He was supposed to redshirt this past season, but after Alex Olah and Joey Van Zegren both suffered injuries, he burned his redshirt. Although he struggled with setting screens and fouling this year, he showed NBA potential in the games he played. His wingspan and his ability to finish around the rim are essential qualities of an NBA player. With off-season development over the next 3 years, he may hear his name called in 2019.
There is a lot of potential in the coming years to see Northwestern players be selected in the NBA Draft. Realistically, we're still two years out from when Northwestern will have a player selected in the NBA Draft. If the players graduating in 2018 continue to develop over the next two years, Northwestern may see Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey or perhaps even Gavin Skelly hear their names called on Draft day.