Northwestern basketball: Top impact newcomer for 2014-2015 season

After a high school career that saw him journey through four teams in four states, Johnnie Vassar is finally coming home.

Well, Northwestern is about 30 miles away from the south side of Chicago, but it’s close enough.

Vassar, who signed his letter of intent last week, is not the highest-touted member of the 2014 class. In fact, it is not very likely he will even start this upcoming season — or the next.

Those types of distinctions belong to 4-star recruit Vic Law and point guard Bryant McIntosh. Law was the class’ first signee and is considered by many the best recruit in school history, while McIntosh led his team to an Indiana state championship. It’s actually too easy to go with either of these players as top newcomers.

So why highlight a player who very well may get lost next season in a surplus of guards? His through-the-roof athleticism is impossible to ignore and will likely separate him from the rest of the pack.

Standing at just 6-feet, 160 pounds, Vassar doesn’t look like the type of player who can single-handedly take over a game. However, one look at this highlight tape should change anyone’s mind:

As seen in the video, Vassar is an explosive playmaker. His ability to control his dribble and make quick decisions on the way to the basket is something Northwestern basketball has never seen before. He is a much-needed presence for the Wildcats’ offense, which was excruciating to watch during parts of last season.

Though shooting is not the strongest part of his game right now, Vassar is not afraid to pull up and hit a jumper from deep. If he can hone his jump shot, McIntosh and he could form a dangerous tandem from beyond the arc when both are on the court at the same time.

Vassar’s style of play also seems to compliment Law’s. His driving ability should create some open looks for Law, who is dangerous even in heavy traffic.

The constant moves from school-to-school did very little, if anything at all, to distract Vassar on the court. In his lone year at Jserra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., he averaged 19.7 points and 5.0 assists.

That type of production of the bench is something every single team could use, but it’s something the Wildcats desperately need. Northwestern was the worst scoring offense this past season.

Of course, college basketball is a different monster from high school basketball. Throw in the fact that Northwestern plays in the Big Ten and it seems almost unreasonable to predict that a backup freshman will makes waves in his first year.

However, Vassar has been known to turn some heads before. Here’s to predicting people will be turning their heads a whole lot more when he is throwing down alley-oops.

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