To this point in his tenure as head coach at Northwestern, Chris Collins has done a good job of recruiting local talent to Evanston. Saturday evening he and his staff reeled in its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-8 forward Rapolas Ivanauskas has picked Northwestern.
Ivanauskas currently attends Barrington High School in Barrington, Illinois, where he averaged 18 points, 8.3 rebounds and two assists per game as a junior. For his efforts Ivanauskas was named second team All-Area by the Chicago Tribune, and he also held offers from Creighton, Iowa and Purdue.
“Rapolas Ivanauskas is significant pickup for Chris Collins and Northwestern because he’s a local top-100 prospected who has a significant amount of skill,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said of Ivanauskas. “He’s shown an ability to score from the inside and outside, and he made major strides in his junior season.”
As stated above Ivanauskas is Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment, and of their three 2015 commitments two are front court players in Aaron Falzon and Derek Pardon with guard Jordan Ash being the other. Add that group to a solid corps of sophomores led by point guard Bryant McIntosh and wing Vic Law IV, and Northwestern doesn’t lack for young talent that’s either already on campus or on its way.
The hope in Evanston is that the young talent being gathered by Collins and his staff will ultimately yield the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament berth.