With the smoke from the madness starting to clear and a national champion crowned, it’s a good time to reflect back on the college basketball season for Northwestern. Expectations were high coming into this,
head coach Chris Collin’s third season with the team, and some even thought they would end their March madness draught. But despite their 20 wins, the Wildcats once again watched the tournament from home. Although arguments could be made for them to have been invited to participate in the NIT this year, Northwestern had too easy a non-conference slate and just didn’t have enough quality wins in Big Ten play to warrant an appearance.
Make no mistake though; this season was progress for a program working very hard to be taken seriously on the court. We’ll be grading every player by position, and this week we start with their strongest overall position group, the guards.
Tre Demps – B
The redshirt senior’s season was up and down, but his highs were memorable. Demps had the best statistical season of his collegiate career, averaging 15.7 points per game and shooting nearly 40% from the field. Before the season Collins talked about giving Demps more opportunities to run the offense, given his size may be more suitable to the point guard position should he make the leap to the NBA. But Demps didn’t do a whole lot of ball-handling this year and went cold, scoring in single digits, five times against Big Ten opponents. But his best performance of the season also came against conference play, scoring a career high 30 points on 11-22 shooting against Iowa on 1/31. Despite his inconsistency, Demps’ leadership and scoring ability is going to be hard for Northwestern to replace next season.
Bryant McIntosh – B+
McIntosh was the only reason Northwestern was able to win 20 games with Demps struggling to score in as many games as he did. He shot the ball extremely well, going 42% and 36% from beyond the arc, and averaged 13.8 points and 6.7 assists per game. It was hard to pick McIntosh’s best game. He scored over 30 points twice this season, had double digit assists four times and had either 8 or 9 assists on nine other occasions. On January 12th against Wisconsin, McIntosh had 28 points on 10-19 shooting to go along with five assists and four rebounds. He also became Northwestern’s single-season leader in assists and scored 20 points in a victory over Minnesota. He had an outstanding sophomore season, and looks to be the team’s best player and perhaps leading scorer next season unless someone else emerges. Either way, this is McIntosh’s team now.
Scottie Lindsey – C
If Northwestern wants to take another step forward next season, Lindsey is going to be one of the keys, especially with Demps gone. Aside from a strong four-game run late in the season, it was an underwhelming year for Lindsey, averaging 6.4 points per game. But Lindsey did show some flashes of his ability, as hee shot over 40% from beyond the arc. After being held scoreless against Indiana Collins benched Lindsey, citing effort at both ends of the floor. Lindsey responded strong in his next couple games, including scoring 18 points in 30 minutes of play against Illinois. He is going to have a really good shot at the starting 2-guard spot next season, but if this year showed us anything it is that Collins is going to make him earn it.
Jordan Ash – C-
Ash made his collegiate debut this season and helped fill the small gaps when McIntosh or Demps went to the bench. His best game came in a blow-out victory over Sacred Heart, where he posted a season-high 10 points to go along with three rebounds and a pair of assists. He mostly handled the ball and acted as a distributor while eating minutes, but his experience this season will be a plus for him as he looks to be a career back up to McIntosh.