When looking at top 100 lists, you might immediately assume that each player has received national attention. In the glitzy world of college basketball recruiting, fans from across the nation identify and then covet top-ranked players.
It is rare, then, to find guys who avoid the spotlight and build their game organically. Makinde London saw the latest Scout.com rankings, and was left to embrace the moment: He was No. 96. Finally, people are taking notice of his immense talent.
“I’m just going to work and keep getting higher [on the rankings],” he said. “I’m proud of going from not being noticed to moving into the top 100.”
The major beneficiaries, though, are the coaches who expressed immediate interest. His list of schools includes several Big 12 and SEC schools, with one seemingly bizarre outlier: Northwestern. Well, this is new.
Patrick Baldwin began sending the Columbia (Tenn.) power forward letters with information about NU. This helped him learn about the Wildcats program; his interactions with Baldwin left an even greater impact.
“He’s been a good dude, and sounds like a great coach,” London said. “I’m very proud and happy [NU] is recruiting me, and [Baldwin] sounds like a great influence.”
London understands the concept of work ethic. He benefited from an enormous freshman year growth spurt, and then developed his overall strength and well-rounded game. Northwestern, in need of help at the power forward position, sees reason to get involved in his recruitment—which will only intensify from this point on.
London said he refuses to grow complacent. With a positive showcase in July, he wants to move even higher on the rankings. The Nashville Celtics (AAU) standout is prepared for even better.
To continue its aggressive stretch on the trail, NU will keep a close eye and perhaps weigh an offer. With his recruitment still wide open, this unlikely contender can make a powerful impression. London’s ideal characteristics for his decision appear to fall into the NU vision.
“I want a good community that’s family oriented, and a program that will help me better develop myself,” he said. “I want to prepare myself for the next level, and like a good education as well, with a degree that has weight and meaning.”
London knew that with strong effort, the recognition and success would follow suit. This ambitious new-look NU coaching staff hopes to accomplish something similar. And no doubt, it pays off.