Northwestern Men’s Basketball Player Previews 2022-23: New Arrivals

With the leaves beginning to fall, it’s finally time to discuss some college basketball! To kick off pre-season coverage of the Northwestern men’s basketball team, we’ll be starting with those new to Evanston this season. Here’s what you need to know about new arrivals of wild cats and their reserves for 2022-23:

Transfers

F Tydus Verhoeven, Postgraduate Student (UTEP)

Being the only transfer to join the Cats this season, Verhoeven’s 6-9 tire fits Northwestern’s needs well. After losing three top players alternately at Pete Nance, Elijah Williams and Ryan Young, Northwestern’s starting position is uncertain, but Verhoeven is definitely playing.

In his three years in El Paso, only Verhoeven has improved, last season making him a one-block average over 50% of the field. Northwestern won’t change offensively, but his experience and leadership should be pivotal to a team that looks very different than it did a year ago. Whether he starts or joins Unit Two, expect to see Verhoeven gain valuable minutes this season.

early years

F Nick Martinelli

The Illinois native is probably the most familiar with Northwestern of anyone on this list, as his brother Dominic was going to race the ‘Cats’ in 2020-21. The 6-foot-7 winger won’t impress you with his athleticism, but 22.8 ppi in his first season is proof alone that he can attack.

After originally committing to Elon, Chris Collins was quick to introduce the adult after Elon’s coach broke up with the show. Martinelli’s shot alone should give him a spin-breaking chance, but if he’s able to develop on the defensive end he could make a real contribution to the ‘Cats in his first year.

F Lock Hunger

After four-star guard Rowan Brumbo’s commitment was cancelled, Hunger’s commitment was treated as a consolation prize, as Northwestern’s season began to derail. However, the Canadian turns out to be more than a consolation, standing at 6 feet 10 feet tall and 255 pounds. Builds. Plus, Hunger had a massive summer, which proves to be far from your average three-star recruit.

At Peach Jam, one of the highlights of a high school show, Hunger put on a show. He averaged 16.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and four ridiculous blocks per game in his eight games. Michigan and Wisconsin, among other Big Six schools, followed Hunger after this performance but Hunger remained committed to the ‘Cats.

Hunger has shown this summer that his skill set could benefit from an increased level of play in the Big Ten, and if he can prove to Collins that his birdie is a real threat, it will be difficult to keep the striker away from the starting five for long.

J Blake Smith

Smith definitely looks like one of the more raw prospects on the list, with his frame too skinny to start his first year. However, being a 6-foot-6 ranger who tracked the track in high school, it’s hard not to see the appeal.

Smith’s handle and jump shot are definitely not where you want them to be in the Big Ten just yet, so it would be surprising to see him contribute so much so early on, but it looks like a long-term investment for the ‘Cats.

F Gus Hurlburt

The 6-foot-9 walk didn’t have the typical rear of a Power Six college basketball player. Hurlburt is from the small town of Enderlin, ND, and attended a high school with a graduating class of only 21. Don’t let his background fool you, Hurlburt can turn around, averaging 15.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in his senior year.

Hurlburt decided not to play basketball in North Dakota, to attend a school away from home in Northwestern primarily because of its academics. Even before setting foot on campus, Hurlburt reiterated that he wants to contribute in any way he can regardless of whether he gets time to play, so don’t expect to see several minutes straight away from the North Dakota native.

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