How 'bout That Basketball Recruiting?

Northwestern Wildcat Basketball fans had lots of big recruiting news as the Cats got two commitments for the class of 2008. Here's more on the two commits, plus a look at how they fit into NU's scholarship picture over the next 5 years...

A week ago, all was doom and gloom regarding NU Basketball Recruiting:
Once again, that elusive big man had decided to play elsewhere and we had to take the sharp objects away from a few of the Court Cat Faithful. We kept reading that NU's coaches were really out on the road watching AAU tournaments, but nothing seemed to be forthcoming.

Then came reports that over the weekend, NU had received not one, but two commits from top flight Chicago area forwards.  Suddenly, life seemed better around Wildcat Basketball fans. Here are the basics on the two commits:

John Shurna [F 6-7] committed to Bill Carmody on Friday. He had been on an unofficial visit and spent time with Mike Capocci, one of NU's incoming forwards this year. Shurna is ranked 16th among all Illinois players by Chicago Hoops. He averaged 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a junior.

He played before Carmody and the rest of the staff during the Illinois Wolves' tournament action the past few weeks. Shurna picked NU over Army, Davidson, Loyola and Washington State. Scout's DePaul site also reports that Nevada, Utah and Xavier also expressed interest.

Nick Fruendt [F/G 6-5 or maybe 6-7] really liked his visit to NU. Prior to last week, he had been hoping for an offer from Wisconsin, but after playing in front of Carmody in Pittsburgh, then entire NU staff in Akron, he got an offer from the Cats on the 8th, visited NU last Friday, and pulled the trigger right before heading to the Prom.

Fruendt is a real shooter - 21.2 ppg last year, and he goes up for the ball too - he averaged over 8 rebands a game last year. The Trib calls him a swing man, but others project him as a small forwrd. ChicagoHoops ranks him 7th in the state overall, tied with center Brett Thompson. Scout.com has him as a 2 star prospect.

Chicago Hoops reported that NU Assistant Paul Lee also had a big hand in landing Fruendt for the Cats.

He also had offers from DePaul, Southern Illinois, Dayton, Bradley, St. Louis and latecomer Xavier.

Both played for the Illinois Wolves this Spring.
Bottom Line?
[warning -
contains lots of opinions]
You can make the case that Craig Robinson provided much of the recruiting depth in the Chicago area - some had speculated that NU's Chicago area recruiting would fall off when he left, since he was a big presence around the city. Under Robinson, the Wildcats had started to really work their back yard and had the players to show for all the work.

But when Robinson left for Brown, NU hired Tavaras Hardy who promptly talked about recruiting in the city. This is pure opinion, but it seems that in adding Hardy, NU sent a message that they are going continue to pick up their efforts to reach local players. Last weekend's pickups suggest that it seems to have worked

Look at the roster: Sterling Williams was a major get out of the Public League when he signed and Jason Okrzesik transferred back when things didn't go "great" at Rice. Add Jeremy Nash, Jeff Ryan and Matt Steger to the "Mikes" [Capocci and Thompson] and the new commits and NU has 8 local players on the roster.

Forget the problems with the Peoria and Joliet kids, NU has a more decidedly Chicago presence these days. Even Tim Doyle, who comes from New York, seems to have made Chi his home, along with Ivan Tolic.

NU has really opened a pipeline to the area that we haven't seen since Tex Winter recruited Chicago back in the middle 70's or Kevin O'Neil camped out at HS games in the 90's.

When NU makes the NCAA Tournament in the next few years with a team featuring Chicago kids, many fans will scratch their collective heads and wonder why NU didn't start recruiting locally sooner. They did, but now they want to come.

Northwestern University 
Basketball Scholarship Status Chart - 2006-12


2007-08 2008-092009-2010
2010-11
2011-12
SF
05

25 Jean-Marc Melchior [6-6]
25 Jean-Marc Melchior [6-6]



SF
06
***
44 Kevin Coble [6-8]
44 Kevin Coble [6-8]
44 Kevin Coble [6-8]


F/C
06 **

11 Nikola Baran [6-7] 11 Nikola Baran [6-7] 11 Nikola Baran [6-7]11 Nikola Baran [6-7]
SF
07
***
Mike Capocci [6-6]
Mike Capocci [6-6] Mike Capocci [6-6] Mike Capocci [6-6]
SF
08 **

Nick Fruendt [6-6]
Nick Fruendt [6-6] Nick Fruendt [6-6] Nick Fruendt [6-6]
SF
08


John Shurna [6-7]
John Shurna [6-7] John Shurna [6-7] John Shurna [6-7]
F
W05
10 Pat Houlihan [6-5]
10 Pat Houlihan [6-5]



F
06 *
21 Ivan Peljusic [6-8] 21 Ivan Peljusic [6-8] 21 Ivan Peljusic [6-8] 21 Ivan Peljusic [6-8]
PG
T05

1 Jason Okrzesik [6-1]




G/F
04 **
32 Sterling Williams [6-4] 32 Sterling Williams [6-4]


PG
05 ***
20 Craig Moore [6-2] 20 Craig Moore [6-2]


G
06 ***
23 Jeremy Nash [6-3]
23 Jeremy Nash [6-3]
23 Jeremy Nash [6-3]


G/F
06 ***
5 Jeff Ryan [6-8] 5 Jeff Ryan [6-8] 5 Jeff Ryan [6-8]

G/F
W06
33 Matt Steger [6-4] 33 Matt Steger [6-4] 33 Matt Steger [6-4]

PG
07 ***

Michael Thompson [5-10]
Michael Thompson [5-10]
Michael Thompson [5-10] Michael Thompson [5-10]
Scholarship
Math
11/13
+2 wo
2 Avail
12/13
+2 wo
  1 Avail
9/13
+ 1 WO
4 Avail
6/13
9 Avail
2/13
11 Avail
Red - Possible Redshirt Year
* = Number of Scout.com stars
Started games in 2005-06
Has Signed LOI with Northwestern for Next Season [2008]



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