The Northwestern Wildcats received significant news Monday when ESPN 100 point guard Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Gill St. Bernard’s) committed to the Wildcats after considering a host of schools, including Alabama, Seton Hall and Rutgers.
Sina, ranked No. 75 and the nation’s No. 13 point guard, is a breakthrough recruit of sorts for Bill Carmody’s Wildcats. Northwestern hasn’t landed a bona fide top-100 player since center Michael Thompson transferred into the program after spending a season at Duke in 2004.
Sina, a son of a high school coach, was impressed with Northwestern's style of play and noticed the fit early in the process. “I think it’s the offense,” Sina said. “They shoot a lot of 3s, and with their style there’s a lot of screens and ball movement. It’s similar to how I played in high school and I see myself in that system.”
One of the reasons Northwestern doesn’t score Sina’s level of player out of high school can be attributed to the fact that the Wildcats have never played in the NCAA tournament. But Sina wants to take on that challenge, not avoid it.
“I know they’ve never been to the tournament but it’s where I feel most comfortable,” Sina said. “It’s a good goal, going to the tournament for the first time in history. It’s a challenge and that’s how I look at it. It’s a great goal to have.”
Recruiting is a relationship-driven business and the Wildcats had an ace to be played in the form of assistant coach Fred Hill. Before coming to Northwestern, Hill was the head coach at Rutgers.
“When I was a freshman, [Hill] offered me my first scholarship at Rutgers,” Sina said. “Once he got fired, we lost touch, but he called right away when he went to Northwestern. He’s been on me through my whole high school career.”
Sure, Sina’s commitment is significant because of his standing in the Class of 2013, but to the Northwestern staff, it’s a gift that gives at least twice. The July period for coaches opens this weekend and a commitment from Sina allows Carmody to cross off all his other options at point guard, which was a big need. Now, he doesn't have to focus on Sina so much and can evaluate players for other positions. Essentially, Sina committing now gives the staff extra time to spend chasing other players.
“They really want some guys to follow [me],” Sina said. "They’re trying to get more guys and talent. I know they’re looking for a small forward so that’s the next thing they want. They needed a point guard and hopefully by committing in July some guys will follow in my steps.”