Collins pitches pros in offer to Malek Harris

Purple Wildcats offers an exclusive story on the recruitment of 2014 forward Malek Harris...

The Illinois Wolves and Northwestern are inseparable programs. This feeder led former AAU standouts John Shurna, Dave Sobolewski and now Nathan Taphorn to careers at NU.

By offering Malek Harris on Wednesday, Chris Collins essentially re-extended this relationship. Regardless of the likelihood Harris attends NU, Collins recognized his talent and made one lasting impression.

"I just talked to Coach Collins, and this is big for me," Harris told PW hours after receiving his offer. "It's a very strong academic school, and the program is definitely coming up for basketball."

This call also functioned to further elucidate the team's recruiting pitch. Collins is telling young talents that with his pedigree, he can prepare them for professional careers.

Harris said the two touched on many different topics during this recent phone call. Collins praised his versatility and proved himself a "cool guy" before reaching an important selling point.

"He's recruiting players that he thinks can get to the NBA," Harris said. "I definitely think that with his style, and with what he's doing at Northwestern, I can picture myself getting there."

Harris, the 2014 forward from Carl Sandburg HS (Ill.), has become a top priority for several schools. That may make things difficult for NU–quite the latecomer to his recruitment–but the local appeal and Collins' approach works in the team's favor. His AAU coach, Mike Mullins, reported that Harris will take his unofficial visit to NU on June 27th.

Some other schools in contention include Marquette, Iowa, Purdue, Kansas State and Oregon State. He refused to list his favorites in order, saying they can change quickly. And if he needs testimonials favoring the Wildcats, he can just look towards the current roster.

"With guys like Nate Taphorn and Dave Sobolewski… I would be thinking about that when considering going to Northwestern," he said. "They probably know how I play, but at the end of the day, I'll do what I think is the best thing for me."

The majority of top prospects wait until July (or later) to make their respective commitments. That gives the new Northwestern staff some time to close the gap, leave its impression and stand out to Harris. At the very least, it's a sign of respect for the Wolves program—and one that has not gone unnoticed.

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