Northwestern is on a bit of a roll on the recruiting front as they picked up their second commitment in the past week. The latest one is Julian Roper, who announced his decision via Instagram on Monday. He chose the Wildcats over Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, DePaul and Wisconsin. Wisconsin appeared to be the frontrunner until late in the recruiting process as Roper’s high school teammate, Lorne Bowman, will be joining the Badgers this offseason.
Roper is the first domino to fall for Chris Collins as he tries to reel in a difference-making recruiting class this summer. This is what I wrote last week on some of the aspirations Collins has for 2021:
“One thing to keep in mind for Wildcats’ fans is that this opens up another scholarship spot to potentially fill in the 2021 recruiting class. Northwestern’s staff has hit the recruiting trail hard lately and has put themselves in a really good position with quite a few talented high schoolers. Chris Collins and his staff appear to be the favorite for top-150 shooting guard, Julian Roper out of Michigan. Top-100 combo guard, Tamar Bates, is also very interested in the Wildcats.
What would set the 2021 class apart from the rest is if Collins can convince consensus five stars Patrick Baldwin Jr. and/or Max Christie to commit, as both players have deep roots to Evanston, including both being Northwestern ball boys as kids. Christie plays at nearby Rolling Meadows High School and his mom was a 1,000-point scorer at Northwestern. Baldwin Jr. has even deeper ties to the program. His dad was an assistant coach at Northwestern under Chris Collins, prior to taking the head coaching position at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Baldwin Sr. is one of the best guards in Northwestern basketball history and Jr. may decide that he wants to play at Welsh-Ryan Arena, just a couple blocks away from where he went to grade school.”
Roper is ranked as the fourth-best player in Michigan and 28th-ranked shooting guard nationally. In terms of playing style, it looks like he will pair nicely with incoming freshman, Ty Berry, in the backcourt. In fact, the two future Wildcats are both ranked as the 136th-ranked players in their respective classes, per 247Sports. While Berry is known for his knockdown shooting, Roper is more well-rounded, if not spectacular at one specific trait. He displays a fluid shooting motion as well as the ability to facilitate for himself and others. He also shows some bounce that will translate well to the Big Ten.
With Roper now committed to the Wildcats, it is up to Collins to bring in some more recruits to help turn the tide in Evanston.