NU on the trail: Philly and Peach Jam

Previewing more critical tournaments for NU basketball in this PW Insider update.

Chris Collins should give Vic Law one giant hug. The newest commit to Northwestern, and Collins' first, will play in Philadelphia this weekend alongside a couple of fairly important targets for this program. Law deserves some love, with at least one coach likely to check in, and he represents some major momentum for a program that looks for much more.

Vic Law, Makinde London and Darreon Reddick all play in Philly this weekend. London, a brand-new member of the Scout Top 100, would earn an offer if NU thinks it can land the four-star power forward. Reddick might require some extra-special performances to move into the high-major discussion.

Regardless, the Wildcats coaching staff will more than likely check in with this group of talented players. One coach, and perhaps even Collins himself, might check in on the small but important group playing in Philly as this July evaluation period kicks into full gear.

As well, the Elite Youth Basketball League holds its prestigious championship tournament in Atlanta this weekend—another major venue for this group. It's possible that the team might have the full staff watch Tyler Ulis for a full game, depending on how committed they are to his recruitment. That would leave a powerful message; it's the nature of July in basketball recruiting.

Events: Battle in the Boro, Peach Jam
Location: Philadelphia, Augusta, S.C.
Dates: July 11-14

PLAYERS:
Philadelphia

Vic Law, four-star small forward, commit
Makinde London, four-star power forward
Darreon Reddick, two-star point guard

Augusta
Josh Cunningham, four-star small forward
Tyler Ulis, four-star point guard
Patrick McCaw, unranked shooting guard
Trevon Bluiett, four-star shooting guard
Reid Travis, four-star power forward

Who's their two-guard?

NU expanded its list of shooting guards this past week after expressing interest in Bryant McIntosh. As first reported by Scout, McIntosh–who de-committed from Indiana State—heard from NU shortly after opening up his recruitment. We have reason to believe that this interest is mutual.

There's some drama, shockingly. The Wildcats have discovered an open shooting guard, and are likely to evaluate him in the coming weeks. McIntosh earned a three-star ranking, and if he wants to maximize his scholarship potential, looks wise in choosing to bolt from Indiana State.

It looks as though McIntosh could receive an offer with strong outings in front of the coaching staff. To me, it seems likely. The staff, though, also wants to go after Patrick McCaw of Mac Irvin Fire (AAU) and some other attractive wing targets. It'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

How closely do they watch Travis?

When we spoke with Travis in May, the four-star power forward said that Collins contacted him by phone twice per week. Things may have changed with the departure of Tavaras Hardy for Georgetown, as the two established an impressive relationship beginning in 2011.

Travis told Duke recruiting analyst Andrew Slater that Stanford, Gonzaga, Michigan State, UCLA and Minnesota are now after him the "hardest." There's always the chance that players omit some important schools in those list–out of pure forgetfulness–but NU might have reasonably tightened its search in recent weeks.

We should learn shortly whether Travis is considered too far-fetched in recruiting hopes. The staff intends to land four guys, and there's no reason to take unnecessary risks in reaching the final product. They're after several power forward prospects, and Travis currently appears the long shot.

How do they juggle the point guard situation?

This is the most important point, by far. There are two current schools of thought. One says, yes, there's every reason for NU to go after Ulis with full intensity. The four-star point guard could choose NU, which might immediately turn the program's fortunes. The other says this: The Wildcats should try to close on Bartley with unwavering commitment.

I'm having a hard time arguing with either side, though I have heard many excellent arguments supporting both. NU needs to sign a point guard for 2014, and it seems to me they desperately want either Ulis or Bartley.

They can go after Ulis–whose favorites appear to be Michigan State and Iowa–with as much gusto as they want. But there's always the risk of ostracizing Bartley. Though he may carry the same sort of luster, the three-star local point guard would fill an important need. You don't want to miss on both; how will they deal with it from here on out?

Purple Wildcats will have full coverage of AAU tournaments and Northwestern basketball recruiting news throughout the month.


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