COMMITMENT WATCH: 2021 G Julian Roper Commits to Northwestern

By Kevin Sweeney

The 2021 recruiting class has long been circled as one that could make or break the Chris Collins era of Northwestern basketball.

Collins and company made the first addition to that class Monday when 3-star guard Ju Roper committed to the ‘Cats. The news was first announced on his Instagram page. Roper currently ranks 136th nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings and held offers from Wisconsin, Alabama, DePaul, Ohio State, Illinois and Missouri among others.

Born just outside of Detroit, Roper helped make Orchard Lake St. Mary’s the top-ranked high school team in Michigan this season. His teammate Lorne Bowman is committed to Wisconsin, leading many to believe that it was only a matter of time before Roper followed him to Madison. Instead, Roper elected to join a Northwestern team with promising young talent in the backcourt with Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Ty Berry already in tow.

Roper first visited Northwestern unofficially in August before taking an official visit during the first weekend of October. His only other official visit came in early November, when he toured Wisconsin with Badger commits Ben Carlson, Jordan Davis, and Johnny Davis.

Roper profiles as a scoring guard who can play with or without the ball. He’s a solid shooter with good size and athleticism for the position. He is slated to play for the Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL circuit this summer.

While Roper is a nice first piece in this recruiting class, it is widely known that Collins and the ‘Cats are shooting much higher in this critical 2021 cycle. 5-star recruits Pat Baldwin Jr and Max Christie are both high-profile targets, and getting off to a good start in the 2021 class could help persuade one or both of them to choose Northwestern over bigger offers. Another name to watch is Kansas native Tamar Bates, a top-100 recruit who took a virtual visit to Northwestern in mid-April. Bates is also being pursued by Kansas, Alabama and Creighton, but is good friends with 2020 NU commit Ty Berry.