Bill Carmody has secured the first piece of his 2013 recruiting class and it’s a big one — in reputation, rather than stature. For the second straight class, a top 150 recruit has committed to Northwestern. This time, it is 6’1″ point guard Jaren Sina from Gladstone, NJ’s Gill St. Bernards School. The rising senior, who was once an Alabama verbal, also held offers from Virginia, Butler, Penn State, St. John’s and several other power conference and mid-major programs.
ESPN has him as the 75th best prospect in the 2013 class. Scout has him at #82. Rivals, who just updated their rankings Tuesday, has him at #106. And now Bill Carmody has him committed to the Purple.
Sina was drawn to all of Northwestern’s strongest selling points: the unbeatable location in Evanston, just north of beautiful Chicago; the highly-regarded academic programs that the school prides itself upon; and the style of play that Bill Carmody runs with the Wildcats. There was just a comfort level with the whole program that Sina felt was too good to pass up, comparing his home near New York City to his future home near Chicago.
Northwestern is known as, to the chagrin of the fan base and students, the school that has yet to make it an NCAA Tournament. Despite the conference affiliation, magnificent campus and academics, and proximity to one of the biggest pools of high school basketball talent in the country, the Wildcats have never been able to put together a season worthy enough of that elusive tournament berth. Carmody’s teams have been close in recent years, being among the Bubble Teams that television analysts love to argue about so much. But they still fell short, even with the school’s all-time leading scorer John Shurna sometimes carrying the entire team — and program — on his back.
The future is looking a little brighter with the recruiting success that Carmody has had. It is not easy to convince top level basketball prospects to come to Northwestern. Even with all the great things the school has going for it, the historical failures of the program are difficult for recuits to overlook. The Wildcats also play in the B1G’s smallest gym, usually in front a large contingent of opposing fans. But in basketball, one player and one team can turn a program around and the fans of Northwestern are hoping that the one player and that one team will come along soon.
Carmody has a solid recruiting class coming to town this season, headlined by Kale Abrahamson
— the ranked prospect we so cleverly alluded to in the first paragraph — and Louisville-transfer Jared Swopshire
, a former top 150 recruit
himself. Abrahamson is a long 6’7″ win from Des Moines that should terrorize B1G opponents for the next four seasons. Swopshire’s impact will have to be more immediate, as he will only have 1 season (2012-13) of eligibility. The 6’8″ forward missed all of his junior season with a groin injury and averaged 3.3 points and 2.8 minutes as a senior last year. While the numbers seem low, the talent level between last year’s Louisville squad and this upcoming Northwestern squad will be vast, to say the least. Swopshire will be counted on fill the void left by Shurna, which will be no easy task.