'Cats Leaving Great Impression With Tate

Northwestern is making a great impression on 2013 point guard Jaylon Tate. Now, the sophomore says the Wildcats are one of his top schools.

"I really like the school, and I like the campus," said Jaylon Tate. "They have a good coaching staff, and I have a good relationship with the coaches and Coach T (NU assistant coach Tavaras Hardy)."

On Saturday, Tate picked up his second scholarship offer, coming from Xavier. His only other offer is Northwestern. In addition, he's received strong interest from Illinois, Marquette, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, and others. So far, Northwestern stands out for the point guard.

"Overall, it has a good package with the academics, and then a strong basketball program," Tate said. "They've had some success in the last couple years, and I can only see it getting better for them."

NU assistant coach Tavaras Hardy has been leading the recruitment of the De La Salle prospect, and the two now have a great relationship. However, Hardy isn't the only Wildcat who is giving Tate a recruiting pitch.

Michael Thompson and Jaylon Tate have been friends dating back to Thompson's time in Lincoln Park, and the two have stayed in touch. Now that Northwestern is recruiting the point guard, Juice Thompson is doing his best to keep the Tate interested in the program.

"He's telling me it's a really nice school and he liked playing for the team," Tate said. "He said it's going to get me better."

Thus far, Tate has seen Northwestern twice—once for a football game, and once for a basketball game. He admits to being very impressed with Northwestern's athletic facilities, but is hoping to see more of the NU campus in his next go-around.

"I just want to explore more of the school next time I come for a visit," Tate said.

The sophomore still has a long time to consider his options, and said he will take his time in picking the right school. However, he already knows what to look for in each option.

"First, academics. Northwestern has really strong academics. Second, I need to have a really good relationship with the coach. I need to feel like I'm at home. I need to fit in with my game, and be a strong member of the team."

Tate's next chance to explore Northwestern's campus will likely come in June, when his busy AAU schedule slows down. He hopes to meet with NU professors and see more of campus, while continuing to build a strong relationship with the coaching staff.

For now, Northwestern is off to a great start with Jaylon Tate, and are making a great impression.

"I could really see myself playing at Northwestern," Tate said.

During his sophomore season, Tate finished with nearly 10 points per game, while leading his team to a 22-3 record.

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