Brooks Barnhizer Commits to MBB

By Kevin Sweeney

Despite not having been able to recruit off campus since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Chris Collins and the Northwestern men’s basketball staff landed their second commitment for the 2021 recruiting class Sunday in Indiana native Brooks Barnhizer. The fringe top-150 recruit picked the ‘Cats over offers from Butler, Xavier, Western Kentucky and Yale, among others.

Barnhizer stuffed the stat sheet in 2019-20 at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN, averaging 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 57% from the field and 45% from downtown. He led his team to a 21-5 overall record before losing in the state tournament. At 6-6, Barnhizer is capable as a ball handler and spent some time at point guard this past high school season, but his best college position will likely be as a secondary creator playing the 2 or the 3.

Northwestern first offered Barnhizer on December 22, and Barnhizer visited Butler and Western Kentucky along with NU before making his decision.

Barnhizer’s swing skill is likely his shooting, especially in the Big Ten. He’s not an explosive athlete, but if he proves to be a legitimate 40% 3-point shooter he has a chance to be a high-level player in Evanston. Some viewed him as a candidate to blow up this spring and summer at live period events before they were canceled. Barnhizer told Brian Snow of 247Sports that Northwestern “think[s] I am a kid who can be like Bryant McIntosh with a motor and playmaking ability… They see me as a 6-foot-6 player who can play the guard at times and switch out on the wing and be a ball handler.”

The Wildcats still have one or two remaining scholarships for the 2021 class depending on whether Anthony Gaines elects to return for a fifth year after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury. Longtime 5-star targets Pat Baldwin Jr. and Max Christie remain uncommitted, but Northwestern’s momentum has slowed in its pursuit of both prospects of late. While it’s still possible Northwestern could win those recruiting battles, Barnhizer and other 2021 commit Ju Roper represent solid adds for Collins and should be four-year rotation players in Evanston. Beyond Baldwin and Christie, Northwestern has offered a pair of stock-rising point guards in Angelo Brizzi and Tyrese Hunter since the pandemic began and remains involved in the recruitment of top-100 guard Tamar Bates.

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