EVANSTON, ILLINOIS— Chris Collins knew he had work to do. Sure, the offseason was just starting and Northwestern had just finished a record breaking season. Summer workouts had begun but Collins knew he had a job to do.
He needed to start landing commitments for Northwestern’s 2018 class this summer. This class couldn’t wait until the fall to receive a commitment. The shoes were far too big to fill to wait while the class of 2018 had some of the country’s best prospects looking to make their verbal commits over the summer.
It started Sunday afternoon, when Jordan Lathon, a point guard out of Missouri committed to Northwestern. He’s the 149th ranked point guard in the class. Scout has him as a three-star guard, while 247Sports has him as a 4-star. ESPN has not ranked him yet. and flew a little under the radar in his junior season, but he’s athletic and he will continue to grow in his senior season.
Lathon will have the opportunity to compete for Bryant McIntosh’s spot and was a necessity in the 2018 class, being that McIntosh and his backcourt partner, Scottie Lindsey, will graduate in June of 2018.
Lathon visited Northwestern the week prior and then announced his commitment on Sunday. Northwestern was in tough competition for the guard, with Lathon also considering Illinois, Wake Forest, and Iowa State.
Lathon can play all over the floor and he’s very strong on the defensive end, which is something Northwestern coaches have really emphasized since the arrival of Collins in 2013.
Lathon will arrive in Evanston in the fall of 2018 to new facilities and a renovated arena. Lathon will also have the opportunity to keep a close eye on the ‘Cats this year from Missouri as he finishes his senior year of high school.
Lathon is an excellent start, but Northwestern wasn’t finished for the week yet.
On Thursday afternoon, player number 68 on the ESPN 100 for the class of 2018, Pete Nance, committed to Northwestern over Michigan and Ohio State.
Nance spent Tuesday in Evanston, and wasted no time committing to Northwestern just two days after his visit. Nance’s commitment to the Wildcats was aided by a few factors. First, in his home state of Ohio, Thad Matta was fired earlier this summer, and Chris Holtmann is now at the helm. With a lot of tasks at hand, Nance’s recruiting may have slipped under the rug a bit.
There were also two factors from Michigan that may have played in to Nance’s decision. The first is Billy Donlon leaving Michigan for Northwestern. The second was when Brandon Johns announced his commitment to play at Michigan. Johns is a power forward in the 2018 class that committed to Michigan earlier that day. With his decision and Donlon’s move to Northwestern, Nance committed later in the afternoon on Thursday.
Nance comes from a long line of NBA Talent, stemming from his dad, Larry Nance, who spent 13 years in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers. His older brother, Larry Nance Jr, played basketball at Wyoming and has been in the NBA with the Lakers since being drafted in 2015.
Nance is now Northwestern’s highest ranked recruit in program history and one that will have the opportunity to play alongside Vic Law in his final season.
Law is the most important recruit in Northwestern history. He set the tone and was instrumental in leading Northwestern to their first NCAA Tournament.
Nance’s commitment shows that now Northwestern can compete with top-tier basketball schools for recruits. Nance will be a big piece in the puzzle as Collins will begin the 2018 season after his first class at Northwestern graduates.
Nance and Lathon are the next generation of Northwestern players who will take this team to new milestones.
Afterall, Northwestern is now a basketball school.