In the next several weeks, the Northwestern coaching staff will contact handfuls of brand-new names.
For now, here are ten of the most important class of 2014 players to watch. We'll have a 2015 board coming up in the next few days, and all of the updates moving forward.
De La Salle (Minn.)
Can you say "program turner?" Travis can score with ease. He's a proven winner at the high school level, and the Howard Pulley AAU standout can challenge himself against the best this summer.
By fitting the clear power forward positional need and dominating in the EYBL circuit, Travis probably staked his claim atop NU's recruiting board. Collins speaks with him twice weekly—an important and positive sign.
Marian Catholic (Ill.)
Believe in the hype machine. Ulis can score from anywhere on the floor and has the innate ability to make his teammates better. He owns all of the leadership skills necessary to succeed.
NU made his top seven, with Michigan State widely considered the favorite in his recruitment. Still, he loves Chris Collins and his roster-oriented system, which keeps the Wildcats in contention.
St. Rita (Ill.)
Law bought into the Chris Collins pitch almost immediately. He expressed his high value for academics–something not as commonly mentioned in basketball discussions–and said he would fit into the new-look system.
Belief is the first step, and dedication is the next. NU latched onto his recruitment quickly, and he's clearly among the team's top priorities.
Morgan Park (Ill.)
NU finally offered Josh Cunningham last month after completing a rigorous evaluation process. I've seen Cunningham five or six times, and have left with a favorable impression of his game on each occasion.
The challenge for him, now, is settling into the small forward position. Cunningham dominates at the 4-spot in high school, but by improving his perimeter game, he would be even more appealing to college coaches. NU and Iowa State appear to lead the way.
Well, we've gotten our hopes up. Bartley visited campus a couple of weeks ago, and appears to have bought into Collins' vision for this program. He's a solid pass-first point guard with a solid chance of choosing the Cats.
It's an important time for Bartley to prove himself. He can make even more strides to round out his offensive game. But honestly: I see him frustrating opponents at the top of a 1-3-1 zone somewhere.
Park Tudor (Ind.)
"It doesn't get any better than him," Bluiett said of Chris Collins. The two often text, and NU is intensely recruiting this impressive four-star shooting guard.
He can fire shots from deep, play shutdown defense and manages to stand out on his all-around dominant Spiece Indy Heat (AAU) team. Michigan and Butler are viewed as the favorites, but NU is building some important reputation with this push.
Whitney Young (Ill.)
Expect his NU interest to cool following the departure of Tavaras Hardy. Still, White represents the local strides made by Collins. The Whitney Young power forward visited in April, and it's especially important for the new head coach to bring Chicago standouts to campus.
Right now, he's a longshot—and probably lower on the board than Travis–but it's not out of the question. This coaching staff likes his game.
Hokes Bluff (Ala.)
Haas, the raw four-star prospect from Alabama, is one of the first major out-of-state looks. The team expressed interest in the mechanically sound center. He's someone they like, and we'll see if the interest picks up in the coming months.
NU might not need another center on this roster, but Haas is an exciting look. He understands the importance of academics (that's a good start), and we'll see if Collins can sell him on the program.
Here's one of your sleepers. Local shooting guard Donte Ingram was declared ineligible for part of this past season after transferring to Simeon. Now, he's been hearing from the NU coaching staff.
Ingram immediately becomes one of the most intriguing targets on this board. He's received limited attention, though that could change with a strong summer and another excellent season.
This team certainly needs shooting guards. With an impressive start to the offseason, Lindsey picked up interest from several schools. Local expert Scott Burgess took note of Lindsey's versatility, ranking him the top 2014 shooting guard from Chicago.
Lindsey could climb up NU's recruiting board with continued strong performances. He shed some light on Collins' strategies in a recent interview with Purple Wildcats, and could be an ideal sleeper addition to this program.
All of the above information has been collected independently. Expect many more updates from Publisher Nick Medline throughout the summer.