The 2013 season was a season of transition for Northwestern. Bill Carmody was fired in March of 2013 after being the head coach of Northwestern basketball for 13 seasons. The 2013 class was the last class that Carmody recruited to Northwestern.
In the 2013 class, there was one member, Nathan Taphorn. Because of injury and sickness his in his true freshman season, Sanjay Lumpkin also joined the 2013 class because he sat out the 2012-2013 season.
When Chris Collins arrived, one of his first priorities on the recruiting trail was to do everything he could to keep the roster in tact. He visited Taphorn at home and talked to Lumpkin and his family.
Sure enough, when the 2013 season began, Lumpkin and Taphorn were both in Evanston and on the roster.
-Nathan Taphorn (SF, #42 by 247Sports)
Taphorn came off the bench in all of his career games except for three. He was a three-point specialist and came off the bench to do so. Taphorn faced struggles on the defensive end early on in his career. In the summer between his junior and senior seasons, he improved the most on the defensive end.
Taphorn improved in each of the four seasons he played. His minutes, overall shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratios all improved in his for years.
His senior season was the best of them all, and it had quite the ending. The best game he played was against New Orleans when he had 18 points and 6 rebounds.
Taphorn will always be remembered in Northwestern history for the final few weeks of his career. He made The Pass to Dererk Pardon on March 1st, which sent the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament in program history. In the two NCAA Tournament games, Taphorn made every three-point shot he took. He also finished ranking first in the Big Ten for three-point shooting percentage, shooting 47% from deep on the season.
How’s that for a finish to your college career?
-Sanjay Lumpkin (SG/F #66 by 247Sports)
Lumpkin played guard in high school, was recruited to Northwestern as a wing player, but spent most of his time at the four guarding and playing power forward. Lumpkin was known as the glue guy for Northwestern. Although he was not a major contributor on the offensive end, his defense helped Northwestern.
Lumpkin had a record at Northwestern. Every game he made a three-point field goal in, Northwestern never lost.
Lumpkin’s leadership on and off the court was a major part of his success at Northwestern. In his senior year, he had a few highlighting moments. He broke Thomas Bryant’s ankles on a layup in the win over Indiana and he put an exclamation point on the win against Wisconsin.
Lumpkin helped Northwestern make it to the NCAA Tournament and played well in Salt Lake City.
Lumpkin and Taphorn each improved every year under the direction of Chris Collins. Both players found their respective roles on the team and developed in to them well. Taphorn’s shooting from deep and Lumpkin’s defense played key roles especially in the last two seasons, when Northwestern had the most success in program history.
Lumpkin and Taphorn were important for Chris Collins and they will always be remembered for what they did in Evanston.