You heard it right: NU's 2018 class ranked 8th in nation

Louie Vaccher, Publisher
Wildcat Report
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NUSports

Head coach Chris Collins took the Wildcats somewhere they’ve never been on the court last season. Now he’s doing the same in recruiting.

Just months after leading Northwestern to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, Collins put the finishing touches on his 2018 class today by landing four-star wing Miller Kopp. The addition of Kopp, the No. 97 player in the nation, vaulted the Wildcats from 22nd to 8th in Rivals team rankings, a perch the program has never reached before.

Not too long ago, a class ranked 8th in the Big Ten would have elicited praise for the Wildcats. But Collins has upped the ante and put his program among the best in the nation.

Northwestern’s class is currently ranked ahead of blue bloods like Villanova and North Carolina, the schools that won the last two national championships. The Wildcats rank third in the Big Ten, behind only Michigan State and Indiana.

And it’s no fluke. Three of Northwestern’s four commitments are four-star prospects who rank among the Top 150 in the nation.

Power forward

4 STARS

Northwestern
Akron

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'8.0"

Wt: 205.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Northwestern

Small forward

4 STARS

Northwestern
Houston

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'7.0"

Wt: 210.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Northwestern

Point guard

4 STARS

Northwestern
Bradenton

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'4.0"

Wt: 175.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Northwestern

Center

3 STARS

Northwestern
Bethlehem

RR: 0.0

Ht: 6'10.0"

Wt: 210.0

Class: 2018

-

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

-

STATE

Commitment status:

verbal

Northwestern

The class got off to a rousing start in late June when four-stars Jordan Lathon and Pete Nance committed within days of each other.

Lathon, a 6-foot-4 point guard who now attends the prestigious Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and is ranked 118th in the country, got the ball rolling by committing to Collins on June 25. He chose Northwestern over offers from Butler, Illinois, Iowa State and Wake Forest, among others.

Nance, a 6-foot-8 forward from Akron (Ohio) Revere and the highest-ranked player in the class at No. 60, committed four days later on June 29. Nance, the son of former NBA star Larry Nance and brother of current Los Angeles Laker Larry Nance Jr., picked the Wildcats over finalists Michigan and Ohio State.

Three-star big man Ryan Young was a surprise when he pledged on August 23. A late bloomer who exploded on the AAU circuit this summer, the 6-foot-10, 210-pounder from Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic is not ranked by Rivals but selected NU over Maryland, by far his biggest offer among more than 20.

Kopp, a 6-foot-7 wing from Houston (Texas) Christian, has been the target for the last scholarship slot since then and is the player Collins sees as the replacement for shooting guard Scottie Lindsey when Lindsey graduates after the upcoming season. Kopp picked Northwestern from a Top 6 that also included Butler, Georgetown, Michigan, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

The class is beyond a reasonable doubt the best in Northwestern’s mostly dismal basketball history.

In just four years, Collins has lifted Northwestern’s program into rarified air. Last March, the Wildcats were the darlings of the NCAA tournament; now, just six months later, they are the toast of the recruiting world.

He also has the full backing of Northwestern’s administration. The school is spending $110 million on a gut rehab of Welsh-Ryan Arena and the team’s facilities, and Collins signed a contract in April that will keep him in Evanston through the 2024-25 season.

Northwestern basketball is clearly at its highest point. And the arrow is still pointing up.


More from WildcatReport:

Northwestern lands 4-star Kopp for final 2018 slot

Kopp talks about Northwestern official visit (premium)

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