Jeremy Woo offers updates on NU commit Dererk Pardon and three Wildcat targets from the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase in Louisville.
Aaron Falzon / 6-7 F / Expressions Elite (MA)
Watch Falzon for one game and it’s easy to see why he’s Northwestern’s top priority for this recruiting class. He’s a deadeye shooter with a good all-around skillset, and with the program's emphasis on recruiting three-point marksmen, you won’t find many better than Falzon. It also makes sense why he’s been somewhat under-recruited to this point – his Expressions Elite backcourt often struggles to get him the ball. In two separate viewings, Falzon’s teammates played recklessly and often looked him off, taking poor shots and failing to recognize how critical involving him in the game should be. It should be noted that in one of his games this weekend, Falzon scored nine points in 12 seconds to bring his team back for a three-point win.
Falzon has range past the NBA three-point line and hits at a high rate with his feet set, but doesn’t excel at creating his own shot. He’ll thrive under a coach who knows how to use him and will call his number. He’d be a perfect fit for Northwestern, as Chris Collins and staff love to feature their four-men as floor-spacers. To maximize his talent, Falzon really needs to play alongside high-level playmakers — and he won’t be able to turn the program around alone — but he’s a valuable specialist with an elite skill and would give the Wildcats a hugely important piece in their rebuild. Northwestern had coaches at all of his games last week, and Boston College and Harvard, considered to be Falzon’s other two top options, also watched him closely.
Dererk Pardon / 6-8 PF / King James Shooting Stars (OH)
A well-built power forward with solid skills, Pardon’s commitment gives Northwestern a good rotation option in the front court. He’s not that tall for his position, but should be able to cut it physically in the Big Ten. Pardon was active inside and on the glass this weekend, and he can also step out and hit a mid-range shot with some consistency. Defensively he’ll block shots and add some muscle. He could be a great role player at Northwestern and will give them a physical dimension they’ve lacked down low.
Matthew Moyer, 6-7 SF, VCC Ohio Warriors (OH)
Moyer was one of the weekend’s biggest stock risers down in Louisville, and there’s a lot to like about what he brings to the table. He’s got a very good skill set: he handles the ball quite well, penetrates and finishes effectively and is able to knock down an open three to keep defenders honest. An intense competitor who plays with a chip on his shoulder and a scowl on his face, he’s got great upside with a chance to be a big-time player.
Much of Moyer’s star potential is contingent on the development of his body. Still baby-faced and getting used to his frame, Moyer will be even more exciting as a prospect once he fills out. He’s already a very good athlete, and he threw down an impressive two-handed baseline dunk in a game against King James. With continued progress, he should end up a Top 50-caliber prospect. It’ll be an arms race for his signature, but Moyer would be Northwestern’s most impressive recruiting job of the Collins era thus far. He left Louisville with a new offer from Florida on Friday, and it seems the secret is very much out.
Xavier Simpson, 5-10 PG, King James Shooting Stars (OH)
Though he’s not particularly big, Simpson is an intelligent point guard with a cool demeanor and the chops to succeed as a high-major player. He handles the ball well and is quick enough to get into the paint, where he has a good mid-range floater and can also find open teammates. Simpson’s intangibles are also extremely impressive, as he’s a strong leader with a great sense of the floor, takes good shots and generally made great decisions in both games I saw.
Simpson isn’t flashy, but understands how to get it done and win. He’ll likely blow up a lot more in the next year, but Northwestern’s offer came at a great time — Xavier, Cleveland State and Toledo were his only offers before Collins jumped in. It can’t hurt that he comes from the same AAU program as Dererk Pardon, and if Northwestern gets in early and can stay there, Simpson could be a coup for the Wildcats. Ohio State, Michigan State and Marquette have been showing interest.