Jordan Ash Commits to Northwestern

2015 St. Joseph's HS combo guard Jordan Ash picked Northwestern on Wednesday, ending a long recruitment that worked perfectly.

Jordan Ash neared his decision, and when two seasons ended, he finally made it official.

The 2015 three-star combo guard from local St. Joseph's HS committed to Northwestern on Wednesday, cementing the Wildcats' backcourt.

The Sun-Times jumped the gun with its Wednesday report that Ash had already committed. Upon hearing this, Ash tweeted that he had yet to make a decision, and used the Chicago Tribune as a microphone to refute the (generally correct) claims.

He texted the same night and said: "Maybe [I'll commit] in the next couple of days." He waited a week, but it all went according to plan. This one was over for a long time.

When Ash closed the process, he joined the budding Chicago-to-Northwestern pipeline. It was exactly as Chris Collins planned when he accepted the job. The head coach reeled in three local prospects in the span of eight months.

Ash was familiar with the NU program early in his high school career. The Wildcats' then-associate head coach Tavaras Hardy identified Ash as a priority. When Chris Collins re-extended the offer in October, the staff worked to land another local target.

Some close to the program have said that Collins intends to use a two-point guard system in future years, or to have Bryant McIntosh play the "lead guard" role à la Jon Scheyer. So this makes sense. Ash plays both guard positions, can be a vocal on-court leader and joins an impressive collection of ones and twos.

Ash also hails from the Illinois Wolves program, which carried guys like John Shurna, Dave Sobolewski and Nathan Taphorn to NU already.

With Ash, Scott Lindsey, Bryant McIntosh and Johnnie Vassar, Collins can now shift his focus to the frontcourt. All of his current remaining 2015 and 2016 targets are 6-7 or taller—a promising sign for NU fans.

Ash also hails from the Illinois Wolves program, which carried guys like John Shurna, Dave Sobolewski and Nathan Taphorn to NU already.

For now, the staff can celebrate landing Ash. After seeing him six or seven times, I'll make the following observations. Keep in mind those six or seven games are a small representation of his abilities:

1) He's a willing defender. Ash is physical enough to guard larger players, and needed to do so on the AAU circuit and in high school games. His work on Kentucky-bound Charles Matthews—at the very least—disrupted the top prospect.

2) He's smooth in transition, like all NU recruits under Collins. He makes quick decisions, and can rise for highlight dunks. That might be his best skill as a scorer; he'll want to get out and run.

3) These are all nice guys. McIntosh and Ash, though, should serve as the more vocal leaders. On a skilled team with Glynn Watson and Nick Rakocevic, Ash is intense, competitive and passionate.

4) Perhaps the only negative with Ash, who I believe to be a sure-thing contributor: He'll never light you up. Don't expect many 20-point outbursts or huge scoring games, but his perimeter game has improved enough to make him a threat.

5) As for development, I expect NU to use Ash flexibly. He's now the third able point guard—out of six total commits—and will be an important shooting guard in Collins' offense. Especially with Tre Demps in place for two more years, this backcourt is set.

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