Created:Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:10 p.m.CDT
Updated:Friday, May 14, 2010 10:12 a.m.CDT
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The state of recruiting for the NIU men's basketball program

By JOHN SAHLY - jsahly@daily-chronicle.com
Northern Illinois men’s basketball coach Ricardo Patton, seen here on Jan. 13, is 26-62 in three seasons with NIU. His coaching staff is credited with having a great relationship with area AAU coaches but has drawn the ire of a few high school coaches in Chicago. (Beck Diefenbach – bdiefenbach@daily-chronicle.com)

Recruiting often can be a hot-button issue in college athletics. It's how teams build their future and also is one of the most subjective parts of college athletics. A gem to one coach can be a dud to another.

The Daily Chronicle spent the past month taking a look at recruiting in Northern Illinois men's basketball, mainly focusing on one aspect that is much more important than any one recruit: the relationships coach Ricardo Patton and his staff have or haven't forged with AAU and high school coaches. We contacted 30 coaches, focusing mainly on the relationship with NIU and the reputation of the program.

The Daily Chronicle also sat down with Patton and his staff last week to discuss all aspects of recruiting and a few other things surrounding his program, specifically the dismissal of guard Jake Anderson and the ensuing fallout.

In the first of this two-part examination, we'll explore how recruiting works for Northern Illinois, what assistant coach Todd Townsend's hire meant and what NIU's reputation is on the AAU circuit.

In the second part, we'll examine what's gone wrong, specifically in the city of Chicago, why so many coaches are perplexed by NIU's decision-making, and whether or not the Chicago Public League is overvalued to the Huskies.

We're presenting what we've found, both the positives and negatives, with regard to NIU's relationship-building and reputation and allowing you, with this information, to decide for yourself how the Huskies are doing in recruiting for men's basketball and the reputation of the program.

Click here for Part I: Patton's staff plugged into AAU circuit

Click here for Part II: What's the value of the Chicago Public League?

Given a full slate of games against Big Ten teams, which team finishes with the best record?
NIU
Purdue
Northwestern