When Julian Royal visited Northwestern on the first weekend of August, it was more than a visit to a college. More than a recruiting trip, more than a chance to check out one of the many schools courting this Class of 2011 prospect.The visit to the Chicago area was also a visit back home.
Royal, a 6-foot-7 forward from Alpharetta, Ga., was originally born in Aurora. So a chance to touch down in Chicago was a homecoming or sorts."It was a lot of fun," Royal, a four-star prospect, said in an interview with Purple Reign. "I was born in Chicago, so that's kind of my hometown. We got to go around the city, and then the school was cool."
Royal, who Scout ranks as the No. 13 power forward in the 2011 class, was joined on his Evanston jaunt by three members of his Southern Kings AAU squad: Dai-Jon Parker, Henry Brooks and Shannon Scott.Each member of the quartet – all highly-regard prospects – will continue visiting campuses across the country. But for Royal, who moved from Chi-Town 10 years ago, the Northwetsern visit had the added bonus of being a return home.
"When I went up there I recognized a lot of stuff," Royal said. "This was actually the first time I've been to Chicago since I moved. I hadn't been up there in a long time."While in Evanston, the Kings members visited with NU head coach Bill Carmody and assistant Tavaras Hardy, and met with an academic advisor. It wasn't an official visit – Northwestern didn't pay for the trip – but Royal and his teammates got a good look at NU.
Part of that look included a pickup game with some NU players. Royal said that he and Parker were on one team, and Scott and Brooks were on the other.And after being asked about it, Royal added, "Me and Dai-Jon won more games than they did."
"I mean, it would just be cool from the standpoint that you get to kind of have that hometown feeling a little bit," Royal said of playing at NU.The Wildcats are by no means a shoe-in for Royal or any of the other Southern Kings. Royal, for one, still plans to visit Florida, Auburn and Wake Forest, and is being recruited by the likes of North Carolina, Georgetown and Texas. And the other three are attracting plenty of their own attention in addition to Northwestern.
But for Royal, the trek to Chicago was a trek back to his old home.
Now, will it be his future home as well?