EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern head men's basketball coach Bill Carmody has announced the signing of Jaren Sina (Jefferson Township, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's) and Nate Taphorn (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) to National Letters of Intent to join the Wildcats for the 2013-14 season.
"We're excited about the addition of Jaren and Nathan to the program," Carmody said. "They continue the positive momentum that we have been able to experience in recruiting in recent years and we look forward to having them join us next season."
Sina, a 6-foot-2 guard, is a top-100 national recruit out of the state of New Jersey. He averaged 20.1 points and 8.4 assists per game as a prep junior and his Gill St. Bernard's team is No. 24 in the USA Today preseason high school national rankings. An all-state selection each of the last two years, Sina ranks among the top point guard prospects in the nation.
A 6-foot-7 forward, Taphorn hails from Pekin, Ill., and is regarded as an excellent shooter as evidenced by his invitation to participate in the ESPN/Under Armour Elite 24 3-Point competition in California over the summer. He posted averages of 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during his junior year at Pekin High.
Complete bios on both players follow.
Jefferson Township, N.J./Gill St. Bernard's
High School: Ranked No. 97 player in class of 2013 and a four-star recruit by ESPN.com ... Second-team all-state selection as a junior after averaging 20.1 points and 8.4 assists per game and shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range ... Helped Gill St. Bernard's to a state runner-up finish and a 28-4 record junior year ... The Knights are ranked No. 24 in the USA Today preseason national rankings ... Has scored 1,562 points and handed out 635 assists through first three seasons ... Named MVP of Tip-Off Classic, posting 23 points and eight assists vs. St. Anthony's ... Two-time Somerset County Player of the Year, first-team all-conference and first-team all-area ... Gatorade Player of the Year finalist ... Team captain ... Participated in LeBron James Skills Academy and Deron Williams Skills Academy ... Competed at AAU level for Hoop Heaven Elite ... Honor roll student ... High school coach is his father, Mergin Sina.
Personal: Born Jaren Ryan Sina ... Son of Mergin and Jill Sina ... Father played college basketball at Rhode Island and played professionally in Europe for 13 years ... Chose Northwestern over Alabama, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Memphis and Miami.
Carmody on Sina: "Jaren is a great leader. He's an excellent dribbler, passer and long-range shooter and is someone who makes his teammates better. He's the type of guard who puts everyone in position to do what they do well. There's a toughness about him that I like. He's the son of a coach and has a great understanding of the game."
High School: Averaged 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range as a junior ... First-team Mid-Illini Conference, IHSA honorable mention all-state, Pekin Times all-area and Peoria Journal Star second-team all-area selection junior year ... Scored 34 points in a regional win over defending state champion Rock Island ... Participated in ESPN/Under Armour Elite 24 3-Point competition in Venice Beach, Calif., during summer of 2012 ... Second-team all-conference pick as a sophomore, averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds per contest ... Team captain ... Played for Illinois Wolves on AAU level ... National Honor Society member ... Honor roll student ... Also competed in golf, earning all-conference honors and was a state finalist ... High school coach is Dave Mott.
Personal: Born Nathan Patrick Taphorn ... Son of Pat and Lisa Taphorn ... Father played college basketball at UW-Green Bay and is an assistant coach at Pekin High ... Uncle, Matt Taphorn, played college basketball at Illinois State ... Chose Northwestern over Creighton, Boston College, Colorado, Colorado State, Green Bay and Bradley ... Will join Rick Lopossa, Barry Moran, Matt Moran and Mike Cullinan as Pekin High grads who have played at Northwestern.
Carmody on Taphorn: "Nathan is recognized as an excellent long-range shooter, which he is, but at 6-foot-7 he is fast, can defend and is able to get to the basket. He has been very well-coached at both the high school and AAU levels. I think his best days are ahead of him."