During the NFL season, one of the staple pieces here at Inside NU is “Northwestern in the NFL”, in which we show how former Northwestern football players are faring in professional football. . Pat Fitzgerald’s proteges have deservedly attracted attention – from the appointment of Greg Newsome to Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie Secondary With Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster competing in the NFC Divisional Round last weekend, the Wildcats have made their presence felt in the NFL.
What can easily fly under the radar, however, is the plethora of former North West basketball players who don’t just play at the top level, but thrive doing so.
Sure, no former Wildcats may be active in the current NBA, but that doesn’t stop us from highlighting players shooting the lights in the G League or even overseas.
First up: a look at how the former men’s basketball ‘Cats are faring in the next stages of their careers.
The man who sits 20and in career points in Northwest history and who was an anchor in the team’s only NCAA tournament has remained true to its homegrown ties.
Born in Hillside, Illinois and having attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Lindsey went undrafted after playing at Evanston from 2014 to 2018. However, he soon found time in the minor league equivalent of the NBA.
Lindsey signed with summer league side Detroit Pistons in 2018 and was with their G League affiliate Grand Rapids Drive for the regular season campaign. Lindsey averaged 10.5 points and 3.7 assists per game in 15 games before suffering a season-ending injury.
From there, Lindsey signed with the Erie BayHawks – now known as Birmingham Squadron – as part of the New Orleans Pelicans development squad. Lindsey maintained an almost identical stat line.
After two seasons in the G League, Lindsey pivoted and moved overseas, joining Portuguese Basketball League side SL Benfica and playing with the team in 2020.
But the local hero couldn’t be away from home for too long. After the 2020 season, Lindsey entered the 2021 NBA G League Draft, where he was taken 17and overall by the Windy City Bulls, the G League side of the Chicago Bulls. 40 minutes behind Evanston, Lindsey averaged 11.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while seeing action alongside Tyler Cook, Mac McClung and Marco Simonovic. Last Wednesday, Lindsey had 24 points and six rebounds to propel the Bulls to a victory.
Law, who ranks in the top 10 of many historic North West brands, started her career much the same as Lindsey.
In 2019, Law was not selected in the NBA draft, but found a home with Summer League team Orlando Magic. Afterwards, Law was sent to Lakeland Magic – Orlando’s G League team, where he played from 2019 to 2020 and averaged 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in nearly 35 minutes of action in average per game.
Perhaps most notably, Law appeared in eight games with the NBA Magic, playing 62 minutes and amassing 15 points in no starts.
Subsequently, Law also ventured into distant lands. The former NU leading scorer played for Australia’s Brisbane Bullets in 2021, finishing second on the team in scoring and first in rebounds. Law only played 16 games due to a torn tendon in his ankle.
This season, Law is part of the Perth Wildcats. They currently sit 6-2, thanks in large part to Law’s 22.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
The ‘Cats’ all-time leader in field goal percentage found himself alongside Law after the two finished their college careers, combining forces in Orlando’s Summer League unit.
While Law would join the ranks of the G League, Pardon opted to play overseas. Pardon donned the red and white jerseys for Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in Italy, averaging 6.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 21 games before a hand injury interrupted his season.
After a brief tenure with Basketball Bundesliga’s Medi Bayreuth, Pardon signed a deal with Hapoel Beersheba of the Israeli Premier League. The center has been a force to be reckoned with, posting nearly a double-double (15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds) in every game.
Hearn predates the Chris Collins era of Northwestern basketball, but the former Wildcat is still going strong in the G League.
Since leaving Evanston in 2013, the 30-year-old has remained steadfast in the NBA minor leagues. Hearn has adapted for the Idaho Stampede (2013-14; Utah Jazz), Reno Bighorns/Stockton Kings (2014-19; Sacramento Kings), South Bay Lakers (2019-20, Los Angeles Lakers), Ignite ( 2020-21) and Memphis Hustle (2021-22; Memphis Grizzlies). Hearn actually played two and a half minutes of NBA action with the Detroit Pistons on February 5, 2018, where he hit a three.
For the Hustle this season, Hearn has started 15 games, posting an 11.4 / 4.1 / 2.3 stat line while helping coach promising players such as Matthew Hurt, Jarrett Culver and Killian Tillie.
Despite only playing one season at the Welsh-Ryan Arena, Taylor finished third on the Wildcats in scoring that year. Following the 2018-19 campaign, Taylor was part of the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s G League affiliate.
From 2019 to 2020, Taylor appeared in 36 games, earning 12 nods and averaging nine points per game. Taylor then went to Iraklis in Greece for the 2021-22 season, but eventually returned to Santa Cruz, where he had 11 points and an assist in a Friday night loss.
Spencer, a former lacrosse star at Loyola Maryland, came to Evanston to further cultivate his love for basketball. Considering Spencer still shoots hoops, it seems his decision was ominous.
After starting 29 games for the ‘Cats in 2019-20, Spencer was invited to training camp by the Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards’ G League team. Spencer ended up making the roster and is averaging 5.8 points per game in 17 games (zero starts) this year.
On Saturday, Spencer played against Lindsey and the Windy City Bulls, scoring that impressive chase block. The two played again on Monday night; the Bulls won to split the game into two games.
Falzon left NU for Quinnipiac in 2019, but his experience under Collins was still key in shaping his basketball experience.
The striker signed with Etoile Angers Basket of the Nationale Masculine 1, the third-tier professional division of French basketball, in September 2020. Shortly after, Falzon remained in Europe but pivoted to England, joining the Leicester Riders of the British Basketball League.
For the 2021 season, Falzon was part of the Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian Basketball Bundesliga, where he averaged 11.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Turner played with the Wildcats from 2018-20 after sitting out the 2017-18 post-transfer campaign, seeing 24 starts in 62 total games. After leaving Evanston, Turner opted to play for the Kapfenberg Bulls of the Austrian basketball Bundesliga – ironically, opposite Falzon.
This season, Turner has been with German sports club Rasta Vechta, which is part of the second tier of professional basketball in the country. Turner saw time in just seven games but converted seven of his 11 field goal attempts.
Benson is another Wildcats March Madness player who has extended his basketball career overseas.
The 6-foot-10 center completed his college tenure in Southern Illinois before joining BC Dinamo Tbilisi of the Georgian Super Liga. Benson led the team in rebounds per game (10.5) while adding 16.8 points per game, good enough for the team’s second place finish. Benson also spent time with Uni Baskets Paderborn in Germany’s second highest basketball league, the ProA.
For the 2021-22 season, Benson moved to Bulgarian basketball, playing with BC Rilski Sportist. From there, the Illinois native traveled to Kosovo to join KB Yili, where he now starts at center and is averaging 13.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Ivanauskas started his college career at NU but transferred to Colgate and then Cincinnati. The Lithuania native signed with the country’s Rytas Vilnius in January 2021. Seven months later Ivanauskas joined BC CB and Prienai – the same team LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball played for in 2018 – where he is the starting striker . Ivanauskas is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 boards per game.