— Jeremy Woo, PurpleWildcats.com: July 19, 2012
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
For the second time in approximately 15 months, Jordan Ash picked up an offer Northwestern. This one, of course, felt wildly different.
There's an entirely new staff, bringing with it new hopes and expectations for the dormant Wildcats basketball program.
There are also four commits—the core of the Wildcats' potential turnaround. With talented guards in Bryant McIntosh and Scott Lindsey, NU finds Ash and his versatility enticing as a potential addition.
Ash, another Illinois Wolves standout (the AAU home of Sobo, Shurna and Taphorn) visited campus for this weekend's football game against Minnesota. He met the complete and enthusiastic group of Collins' first recruits, growing comfortable with the players and the situation.
"It was a great visit," he said via text message. "I talked to the staff and watched the team scrimmage. The '14 commits were there, and we got some shots up and chilled with the team.
"Coach Collins said that he thinks I'd be a great fit at Northwestern, and that they wanted to extend an offer to me."
The staff refused to end there. Rather than dropping the offer and leaving it, they exuded passion in their interactions with Ash throughout the visit.
He has strong respect for this coaching staff, and appreciates their praise—given that they all played the guard position at high levels.
"I was pretty shocked because of how much they think of my game," he said. "They think I have intangibles that will generate a lot of wins. For it come from coaches of that caliber, it meant a lot."
Ash, who repeatedly talks about valuing academics, knows of Northwestern's general appeal. He's convinced now that NU can begin its dramatic turnaround, and convinced he'd be an integral part of it should he choose to join the program.
"Coach Collins is all in when it comes to bringing a winning atmosphere," he said, "and his staff is all in it with him. Their dedication shows when you talk to them or watch them coach."
That dedication will certainly carry over to his recruitment, part two.