One such player was 2016 guard Tyus Battle, who attends Gill St. Bernard's School in New Jersey. Standing 6-foot-4, Battle rates as one of the top incoming freshmen in the nation. Already part of the USA Basketball developmental program, Battle possesses an advanced skill set for his age with plenty of room to grow.
Battle got his first taste of Northwestern life this weekend, getting a feel for campus and taking in the Wildcats' football game against Nebraska.
"I really liked my visit a lot," said Battle. "It's great that they're trying to make the athletics a lot better, and of course it's also a great academic school."
Instrumental in getting Battle on campus was Northwestern assistant coach Fred Hill, his lead recruiter. The former head coach at Rutgers, Hill holds heavy ties in the New Jersey area and along the East Coast. During his visit, Battle met with NU's coaching staff for the first time.
"[The coaches] talked about the school, how practices run and all that, how they play," said Battle. "Coach Hill is a really nice guy, I like him a lot. He's real friendly and gets to know all the kids really well."
Importantly for Northwestern, Battle is a teammate of Jaren Sina, who also attends Gill St. Bernard's. Both play AAU ball with Team Final, which also produced NBA lottery picks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Dion Waiters. The pair traveled together over the weekend, and according to Battle, Sina has been in his ear about the Wildcats. The relationship between the two could pay dividends for NU down the road.
"Jaren tells me Northwestern will really get you somewhere in life if you don't make it basketball-wise," explained Battle. "He also reminds me just to take my time with the whole process."
And it's still very early in that process for Battle, who has yet to play in a high school basketball game and is nowhere close to a college decision. But with scholarship offers already from Miami, Rhode Island, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Syracuse and Vanderbilt, make no mistake—his recruitment is in full swing.
As Battle matures on the court, rest assured Northwestern will be keeping a very close eye.