2008 Northwestern Wildcats Basketball Preview
In 2007-2008, the Northwestern Wildcats (8-22 overall, 1-17 Big Ten) finished in last-place in their conference. For head coach Bill Carmody, it was another year of loses, failed attempts and substandard talent. Carmody starts his ninth season with Northwestern and desperately needs to show improvement.
In the frontcourt, this club, which was dead last in rebounding amongst Big Ten teams, is much improved. Two freshmen, Luka Mirkovic and Kyle Rowley, will share the center position. The six-foot-eleven Mirkovic is big bodied and offers a good shot. Rowley, who stands seven-foot-even, will make an immediate impact grabbing rebounds. Both centers possess fine passing skills. Last season forward Kevin Coble (35.0 MPG, 15.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 48.1 FG%, 81.3 FT%), who is now a junior, put up some good numbers but lacked consistency. His rebounding efforts will be reduced in 2008-2009, which may help him become a more solid performer. Freshman forward John Shurna is thin and lanky but strong and tough.
Senior guard Craig Moore (35.4 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 44.2 FG%, 82.9 FT%) made an average of 1.83 SPG last season. He’s a solid scorer, good ball handler and fine foul shooter. He’s also the team captain. Last year, Michael Thompson (35.5 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 43.3 FG%, 64.0 FT%) set a school record for assists by a freshman (128). He’s worked to improve his shooting, which was weak. Depth in the backcourt will come from juniors Jeremy Nash (17.8 MPG, 3.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 44.2 FG%, 82.9 FT%) and Jeff Ryan (23.8 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 57.5 FG%, 34.6 FT%).
This season, the Northwestern Wildcats should certainly do better
than their last-place finish in 2007-2008. The Cats could be an
eighth or ninth-place club and in 2009-2010, they might be in the
NCAA mix. Look for this team of the future to move up a few rungs
this season and six or seven overall the next year. It’s about
to get exciting at Northwestern.