Jordan Lathon's sudden Northwestern about face underscores difficulty of landing top talent at elite schools

Photo: @j2lathon/Twitter screen shot

Throughout recent years, the same college basketball super powers have boasted the top recruiting classes. Kentucky will remain an annual contender no matter who leaves for the NBA because Coach John Calipari has built a conveyor belt of talent in Lexington. In recent years, Duke has been even more successful under longtime head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

That was still the case with the Class of 2018 … with a wrinkle. Suddenly the smart guys could compete alongside the superpowers, including fellow smart guys Duke. Vanderbilt boasts one of the top Classes of 2018, even without Romeo Langford, and despite being a small group, Northwestern also boasted one of its top classes of all time, with multiple four-star recruits and a promising point guard named Jordan Lathon.

That’s no longer the case, though it has nothing to do with a change of heart from Lathon. Rather, Northwestern itself decided to revoke the guard’s admission and scholarship.

As reported by SB Nation Northwestern blog Inside NU, the Wildcats ended the longtime commitment of a player many felt was the program’s point guard of the future.

The decision clearly came as a shock to Northwestern coach Chris Collins, who spoke at length about the team’s plans for the 2018-19 season and the possibility of Lathon taking the reins of the team’s offense.

While Northwestern wouldn’t provide explicit details of the reasons for withdrawing Lathon’s admission, it’s entirely possible that the school’s admissions department decided he simply didn’t meet it’s stringent academic requirements. That’s a tough break for Northwestern, and a very fortuitous one for some other Power 5 program; Iowa State, Butler, DePaul, Illinois and Louisville have all been linked with the point guard since Northwestern announced he wouldn’t be a Wildcat.

And who does Collins get to replace Lathon so late in the recruiting cycle? No one, which makes their goals for the 2018-19 season feel much less attainable.

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