The general consensus surrounding this first class: It could go either way. An early four-star land might give Collins some much-needed momentum heading into his first season on the sidelines. He's gunning for top talents–including Trevon Bluiett and Vic Law–in hopes of building program reputation. It's an aggressive strategy that will eventually pay dividends.
If Northwestern can't sign a program-turning talent, the team still has to find players of worth on the trail. Marcus Bartley seems like an ideal fit and realistic candidate. Keep in mind that Nate Taphorn and former commit Jaren Sina were locked up by July. These classes shape up quickly.
Can the team land its 2015 targets?
I'd argue the recruiting picture looks much more clear in 2015. The Wildcats are already in on Jordan Ash and Evan Boudreaux—two in state offers who could serve as high-impact players down the road. Also of note: A.J. Turner's reclassification to the class of 2015 makes it much more likely that he'll pick up an NU offer. Turner was an option for the 2014 group, but he'll add to the ever-growing list that will be under the microscope next summer.
Aaron Jordan–one of the key targets–has visited campus twice since the Collins hiring. It's convenient, and the most recent time, he brought Joseph Toye along with him. Both are hearing from Tavaras Hardy, and should be high up the wish list for 2015. I'm more bullish on that class than this one—and understandably so.
Where are the big men?
This group desperately needs help at power forward. Josh Cunningham–the most recent offer–seems more comfortable playing the 3-spot. Collins and Hardy have primarily targeted guards, but they need rebounders. Olah is the current solution at center and not a bad one.
Still, the power forward position on this team is something of a black hole. Sanjay Lumpkin and Kale Abrahamson aren't big enough to consistently succeed at the 4, and I imagine the two will split small forward minutes in future seasons. Someone might enter the picture in later stages. If Collins lands Bartley and another player, expect them to focus other efforts on scouring the ranks for big men.
Stay tuned for weekend updates on Northwestern's top targets from the Elite Youth Basketball League circuit in Minneapolis.