The new head coach arrived at Northwestern and so quickly infused the program with his presence. That carried over to the recruiting trail, and he now might accomplish a shocking and impressive feat.
What if he picked up one player at every position in his first class? I'd say this is probable with the latest news. The "leave of absence" from Mike Turner (doubt it's temporary) gives Collins another 2014 scholarship.
On paper, my predicted scenario looks something like this:
It's not a starting five–at least not immediately–but adds depth at every single position. I'm also less than optimistic about NU's chances with Josh Cunningham, though I think there's a chance.
There's more meaningful implication at stake. With one class, Collins might build a tournament team by his second year. He'll keep Alex Olah, Jershon Cobb, Nate Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin for the 2014-15 season, and then bring in an exceptional class.
A five-freshman class would make an immediate statement, and give the team flexibility moving forward. If they land Lindsey (I'm confident they can), the Wildcats can supplement him with a blue chip and drive-oriented two guard in 2015. Lindsey, a local guard, shows off an excellent basketball IQ and outstanding range, and could start for multiple seasons.
Gavin Skelly's commitment gave the team another capable stretch four, with Taphorn already embracing the role. He's an able rebounder and has outstanding offensive fundamentals. With early success, Collins can save his efforts to recruit other positions: Taphorn/Skelly might be just fine at the "power forward" spot.
We've raved enough about McIntosh and Law—two sensational gets by the NU coaching staff. The last piece, frankly, involved some center depth to spell Olah. Now that Turner is out, he'll need to find the solution.
With this much talent–designed to fill so many holes–NU might have an NCAA Tournament threat sooner than anyone expected. It just keeps coming together.