Despite the drama surrounding Northwestern head basketball coach Bill Carmody’s return for season number 13 in Evanston, it sure feels like the urgency quotient has been cranked up a few notches. Northwestern has at least on the surface addressed the glaring void of the past few teams – the frontcourt. After a paperwork issue prevented Alex Olah, a 2012 6-10 center (NU lists him as a 7-footer, but reports vary) recruit from signing on basketball signing day (with fellow recruits Kale Abrahamson and Sanjay Lumpkin), he became officially a Wildcat today according to NUSports.com. I’ve heard great things from insiders who have snuck a peak of him playing in Evanston and terms like “instant impact” have been utterred. Olah, a native Romanian, played his high school ball at Traders Christian Point Academy in Indiana and averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds per game. Technically, as NUSports.com points out, the freshman (eligibility-wise) class also includes highly touted point guard Tre Demps (sat out 2011-12 due to surgery/injury) and promising big man Michael Turner (redshirt). Throw in TCU transfer Nikola Cerina, a 6-9 beast who Carmody claims is the best athlete on the team and you have quite a potential depth chart after suffering through a razor thin season this year.
Then, you add fellow big man Jared Swopshire, a 6-8 transfer from Louisville, who has one year of eligibility left (and can play instantly since he graduated from Louisville) and you even have some seniority in the frontcourt. Swopshire is another NU transfer import from a high profile program (we’ve done this with Kentucky and Duke in the past) and Rick Pitino had the writing on the wall as his minutes decreased significantly with each passing year and each new, better crop of talent that helped lead the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2012. Swopshire is an athletic talent though and though he averaged just 3.8 ppg, he did play in 39 games this season. Swopshire shined in 2009-2010 and showed flashes of big games and started 20 games. The turning point in his development came in the 2010-2011 season which he missed due to injury.
If you look at the legitimate depth on the team you have the following players to choose from which will seem like a luxury based on recent seasons. Obviously there is no John Shurna (yet) in this group so it will be a team effort to pick up the scoring slack. Make no doubt about it, this is Drew Crawford’s year to take his game to another level for us to make the dance.
Potential 2012-2013 Starting Lineup:
- PG David Sobolewski
- SG JerShon Cobb
- G/F Drew Crawford
- PF Jared Swopshire OR Nikola Cerina
- C Alex Olah
- Jared Swopshire OR Nikola Cerina
- Reggie Hearn
- Michael Turner
- Alex Marcotullio
- Tre Demps
- Kale Abrahamson
- Sanjay Lumpkin
Yup, time to get sucked back in once again. NUSports.com offers up the complete bios here.