Where we're at

Some recent developments have changed the landscape of Northwestern's 2010 recruiting class. In light of the goings-on, Purple Reign talked with a source close to the program about the team's current recruiting priorities. Get a look at the positions – and a few of the players – that the Wildcats will be looking to add to the 2010 class.

It's been an eventful couple of months on the Northwestern recruiting trail. For good and not-so-good.

September featured a few recruits – namely forward Griffin McKenzie and guard Josh Gasser, both three-star players – passing on the Wildcats. And another one – three-star guard Jershon Cobb – giving a big-time commitment.

So good and bad, things were popping.

In addition, a source close to the program confirmed that the Wildcats' have pulled their scholarship offer to Will Sheehey, a 6-6 swing-man from Weston, Fla. Sheehey has picked up recent offers from Indiana and Vanderbilt. And despite naming Northwestern as a virtual shoe-in for a visit this summer, things have cooled with Sheehey – both in terms of NU's interest in him and, apparently, his interest in NU. Bottom line: Looks like he's definitely not going to be a Wildcat.

So, where does this leave Northwestern and its 2010 class? Who are some of the main targets?

The NU source shed some light on these questions. First off, the team feels that there are still a few positions of need. The main priority, according to the source, is point guard.

Pe'Shon Howard
In light of that, the team has a few top targets at the 1. Like Oak Hill (Va.) Academy's Pe'Shon Howard. A three-star prospect, Howard is 6-foot-2 and 200-pounds and is being recruited by Virginia Tech, Stanford, USC and Harvard.

Northwestern is also after Jordin Mayes, a 6-2, 170-pounder from California. Mayes, a three-star recruit and the No. 30 point guard in the nation, is receiving recruiting interest from coast-to-coast. He took a late-September trip to Boston College and also has offers from Fresno State, Washington State, Colorado and Nevada.

The Wildcats' point guard interests are by no means confined to these two. However, they were the ones mentioned by name by the source.

In addition to point guard, the source confirmed that Northwestern is also looking to add some athleticism at wing. No names were given for wing targets, but the Cats are definitely seeking an athletic wing player to compliment the incoming backcourt of Cobb and – well, we don't know yet.

And really, we may not for a while. Neither Mayes nor Howard are in a hurry to make a decision.

Jordin Mayes' father told Scout's Eagle Insider (Boston College):

"We just think it is time to focus on the books, keeping his GPA up and getting ready for the season. The calls are coming in, but he is wide open. He is not making a decision early. We are just taking it day by day.

Jordin Mayes
"Realistically, I don't want this on his head. I want keep that head focused on his studies and his season. We'll worry about recruiting when the time is right. Right now, we are listening and evaluating. He will have to find the best place for him, a place where the coaches are sincere and the school is the best fit for him. He has plenty of time for that later on."

Mayes himself told Eagle Insider:

"Right now I'm still checking schools out and learning about the schools. I'm not ready to make a commitment or name favorites. If I feel right then I'll make a decision, but if I need more time then I'll wait."

And Howard told Scout's Evan Daniels that he will likely wait until spring to make a decision:

"It kind of went crazy and picked up after July," Howard said. "In August I was thinking about making a decision, but we decided to just slow down and get ready for high school and make a decision after some visits this year….

"I was trying to [come to a decision] because it seemed like it was getting hectic and I thought I wanted to narrow it down. I decided to keep it open and let schools know that I'm wide open. I'm probably going to go through the season and take visits throughout the year….

"I'm thinking late. A lot of schools that are on me now I don't know a ton about them. A school like USC, they have a new coach and I kind of want to them and these other schools during the season."

Now that we know some things to look for in the future, a quick recap of what's already transpired this fall on the recruiting trail.

First was the Sept. 2 announcement by McKenzie that he'd be staying close to his Cincinnati home and commit to Xavier. McKenzie was a priority target for NU, and his commitment elsewhere got September off to a rather inauspicious start.

But things turned around – and how. On Sept. 20, Jershon Cobb, a shooting guard from Decatur, Ga., became the Wildcats' first 2010 commit.

The Cobb commitment was a boon on any number of levels: He's a three-star prospect. Scout has him as the No. 50 shooting guard in the nation. He was being recruited by schools in the ACC (Boston College), SEC (Auburn) and Big East (South Florida). The Daily Herald said of Cobb: "Northwestern's basketball team picked up its most prestigious recruiting commitment of the Bill Carmody era."

So in any number of ways, the Cobb signing was big-time.*

*This is purely speculative, but Purple Reign suspects/hopes that the Cobb commitment could mean more than simply nabbing a good 2010 guard. This article discusses this line of thinking at length, but a quick recap of the logic:

Northwestern has offered four-star 2011 Georgia products Julian Royal, Shannon Scott, and Dai-Jon Parker, as well as their two-star Georgia Kings teammate Henry Brooks. So obviously NU has (or is trying to develop) in-roads in Georgia. Might Cobb's signing be an auspicious sign that more Georgia recruits will be Evanston-bound?

This may sound like a bit of day-dreaming. But it's not totally illogical. First off, that quartet – Royal, Scott, Parker and Brooks – were all on campus this summer. Also, Royal is originally from Chicago. And now, with Cobb's commitment, there's a fellow Georgia Peach on board.

Plus – and this is what PR finds really interesting – take a peek at the 2003 roster. Looks a bit like this year's: players from Illinois, from Croatia, from Canada – the typical passport-required roster for Bill Carmody.

But there are three outliers in terms of location: Patrick Towne, Winston Blake and Jason Burke. Each came from Plano, Tex. Sometimes, it seems, players travel in packs.

Now, maybe Cobb's signing simply means that that NU landed a ballyhooed 2010 guard. Nothing else. But it could also mean that the recruiting map is expanding south. And with all those targets down in Georgia, that'd be a very good thing.We'll see. It's just a thought.

Alas, the good vibes following Cobb's commitment were short-lived. A few days later, NU target Josh Gasser, a three-star recruit who had visited Evanston and who listed the Cats as one of his final three choices, committed to Wisconsin. The 6-3 combo guard's decision left NU at 1-1 on its guard targets.*

*Although truth be told, the NU source of the program confirmed that Cobb was the more highly-valued target.

And now it looks like Sheehey's recruitment has officially fizzled.

So, that's where we're at. Cobb is onboard, and that's a big deal. He is one of the most talented and sough-after recruits in recent memory, plus he's from well below the Mason Dixon line, which bodes well for the prospects of expanding the recruiting map.

And despite missing on Gasser, there are other guards in the fold. Howard and Mayes are both three-star prospects, and NU is in the hunt for both. One drawback – for fans, at least – is that those two are adamant about not being in a hurry to commit.

The good news, though, is that both would be worth the wait.

Comments? Suggestions? Want to recommend a good book? Please write to Purple Reign at northwestern.scout@gmail.com.

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