The 2015-16 season hasn't even started yet, but Chris Collins already has the next wave of Northwestern recruits all signed up.
The Cats announced their three-man recruiting class for next season on Wednesday, officially welcoming Barret Benson, Rapolas Ivanauskas and Isiah Brown to the program.
With two four-star prospects in Ivanauskas and Benson, Northwestern's recruiting class was ranked No. 34 in the country by Rivals.
Collins is already thinking about the impact they'll make after the current crop of seniors leaves after this season.
“I’m really excited about the three additions to our program,” Collins said. “With losing Alex Olah and Joey van Zegeren after this season, the addition of size with Barret and Rapolas are going to be huge building blocks for the future of our front line. They’re both local products who bring everything we value in our program and have the chance to be outstanding players.
“Bringing a scoring guard like Isiah into the fold is going to be big as we lose a big piece in Tre Demps. All three of them will have great opportunities to step in and have key roles right away.”
Ivanauskas is the highest-ranked of the trio, ranked as the No. 89 player in the country by Rivals, which deemed him a four-star recruit. A native of Barrington, he's attending a boarding school in New Hampshire before coming to Evanston next season. The 6-foot-9 big man also had Big Ten offers from Iowa and Purdue.
“Rapolas is a 6-foot-9 high-energy, versatile guy who can play a number of positions. He’s a great cutter and slasher. He has been a great scorer during his career and is an incredibly hard worker," Collins said. "He is someone whom we have seen improve tremendously over the last few years. That’s exciting as we look to project what he’ll become once he gets into our program and develops on all levels.”
Benson is ranked as the country's No. 109 recruit by Rivals. Currently playing at Hinsdale South, the 6-foot-9 big man has a four-star rating and picked the Cats over Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue.
“Barret is an emerging post prospect. He’s a true low-post center with great size and power. He’ll fill a big need for us coming into next year," Collins said. "The thing that has impressed me the most about Barret is how far he has come in the last three years. He’s a guy who every time you see him, he has gotten better. Those are the guys who excite our coaching staff because you know he’s going to be a hard worker. With his size, frame and skill level, I think he’ll have a great career here.”
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Brown is a 6-foot-3 point guard from the state of Washington, a three-star recruit per Rivals.
“Isiah has a great pedigree. He is a first-team all-state player in the state of Washington. He has been a great scorer in high school," Collins said. "I think his ability to make plays and put the ball in the basket is going to really compliment our guard corps. I expect him to be able to come in and contend for big minutes as a freshman.”