NU Extends WGN Partnership, Plus News, Notes and Narcissism

We’ll kick things off this week with a few tidbits to tide you over for some longer form fun that is on deck for the week. With the men’s basketball team sucking in to that vaccuum of irrelevancy once again, we’ll do our best to crank up the football goodies to help us all get through what looks to be a long, long, painful winter.

‘Cats Ink Extension With WGN As Radio Partner

Yesterday, WGN interim GM, Jeff Hill, was honored with the mayoral handshake by Jim Phillips and received a NU hoops game jersey for a photo op at halfcourt to memorialize the fact WGN and Northwestern have agreed to extend the radio powerhouse’s exclusive radio flagship partnership for NU Athletics through the 2015-16 season. You wonder if Hill was thinking “why did we include hoops in this deal?” Yesterday was THAT bad.  A listless effort by Northwestern with a 60% visiting Iowa crowd drowning out the apathetic purple faithful and just a smattering of students in the mostly empty “student” section. It’s good news for football as the 50,000 watt station can be heard in 38 states and the constant promotion on-air is a good fit for NU as well as being home to the “voice of the Wildcats”, Dave Eanet. Here’s to hoping, they can find a way to figure out how to overtake Cubs September conflicts, as those baseball games are highly irrelevant and ‘Cats fans are set scrambling each week to find Dave & Ted’s excellent adventure.  You can read more about the deal here. Kyle Queiro Moving To CB

I was happy to see last night’s headline post from Louie Vaccher of  Kyle Queiro, a highly-touted safety from Bergen Catholic (NJ), was told recently by his recruiter, Bob Heffner, that he will be playing cornerback for Northwestern.  This is great news as far as I’m concerned, as the ‘Cats have some depth at the safety slot, but as we all know, the CB spot is an area of, uhhh, lack of depth. Queiro brings unusual size for an NU corner, as he’s 6-3, 190 pounds.

Bonding Time also noted several 2013 commits were in Evanston this weekend, ironically taking their “official” visits, which is a misnomer in some ways, since they’ve already pledged their future to Fitz. The list included the guy I’m most intrigued by, RB/S Godwin Igwebuike, OL Brad North, LB Brett Walsh, ATH Keith Watkins and Kyle Queiro, who also toted along his younger brother, a LB target for NU, Cameron Queiro, who was on an unofficial visit. Kyle is working the recruiting of his little brother pretty hard, it seems. The pair were hosted by fellow Bergen Catholic alum, Cameron Dickerson.

Programming Alerts

We’ve got some fun football fodder to tie us over this week. We’ll be posting about the NU alltime timeline and debating which dates (ex. 1/2/95) should be in which order, we’ll break down the McCall and Hankwitz eras to date (statistically at least) and we’ve got a great Purple Mafia Profile with Miami Marlins play-by-play man, Glenn Geffner. We’ll also be breaking down the 2013 football schedule as well as a potential PMP with former ‘Cat and current NGN president Adam Paoli, plus a bunch more. Should be a fun week.

LTP N Flag Project

I’m beyond backed-up with great photos that you’ve submitted, so please know I’m on the case. Today, we post Rene Jovel’s photo from a recent trip to El Salvador. Take a peak:

The Narcissism Part

I can’t let yesterday’s embarassing 70-50 loss go without mentioning a few things. First, the lack of buzz in the building was beyond description. It was as flat as the ‘Cats play.  I’m so sick and tired of going to home games and getting drowned out by opposing fans, yet I’m at the point where I can’t blame fans for not wanting to subject themselves to this misery any more.  Watching NU do the three man weave with ZERO eye on trying to penetrate and attack the basket was bad enough. Watching the defense get perplexed on switches and completely lose sight of the ball when they were defending away from the ball was JV level bad. Conventional wisdom among ‘Cats fans has been that the administration will give Carmody one more year based on the fact 2/5 of the starting lineup is out for the year and there are allegedly two instant impact players joining the ranks next season. A couple more efforts like that and I sure wouldn’t bet on it.

Candidly, the reason it hasn’t happenned sooner is that fans don’t step up and have their voices heard. Can you imagine this happening at other B1G schools? Fans would be blowing up the phone lines and emails of administrators to really let them know what they thought. In Evanston, it is voting by abstention.  As Notre Dame found out until this year, the only thing worse than being bad is being irrelevant and after a couple of years of competing and knowing we had a chance to win games, we’re back to the point as fans as hoping we don’t get blown out. With each passing year that Fitz wins, the stark contrast between the programs continues to widen.  I also must point out Teddy Greenstein’s article recapping last night’s debacle. Teddy has as close relationship with both Jim Phillips and president Morty Schapiro and this line in particular jumped out to me:

It should be said that although Northwestern is playing without the suspended JerShon Cobb and injured Drew Crawford, there’s no guarantee that Carmody will be return for a 14th season. University higher-ups do not simply view this as a take-our-lumps development season. -Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2013

We shall see how things shake out in January, but the unfortunate circumstances that have led to Cobb and Crawford sidelined for the year, don’t excuse lack of fundamentals, underwhelming senior leadership and a coach who looks, at times, as if he is going to simply walk over to Phillips and hand in his clipboard.


  • zeek

    As to that last part (why fans aren’t up in arms), I think there’s a bit of “contentment” going on with respect to Northwestern sports overall that’s overshadowing our ongoing basketball nightmare.

    It’s like when you talk about other professional sports in a city that has recently (in the past year) won a championship in one of the major sports. Most sports fans take it for granted that they’re not going to see multiple teams perform at that kind of level on an annual basis, so if their baseball or basketball team is winning big, then it’s not as bad when their football team underperforms in the following season.

    I think that’s sort of what’s going on with NU basketball this year. Maybe it’s just me, but I was a lot more aggravated with Northwestern basketball the past 3 years (when we at least got NIT bids) than this year when I’m pretty certain we’re going to struggle to even win 3 Big Ten games.

    The main reason is that there’s so much going right with the football program and other sports that it’s hard for me to be as annoyed with our basketball program as I was the past couple of years when I felt that football was underperforming as well. It’s just hard to be up in arms two weeks removed from a 10 win/bowl win football season.

    Of course, by the time March rolls around, I’m sure I’ll be ticked off with our current hoops regime.

    • Noah Kimmel

      Its funny, I feel almost the opposite. Because both programs were in similar situations 5 years ago, I see one program on a great upward trajectory, and the other stalling out. While Im not angry like last year, I am disappointed….

      • Richard

        Similar situations?

        The football team had a history of success that the basketball team could only dream of.

        • Ron

          Thank you. There are some here who maybe need to be reminded that the Football team went 21 seasons during which they won a total of 25 games in the Big Ten. (Interstate 94, Northwestern 0, anyone?). And then pow!, the next year, they went to the Rose Bowl. And although that highest success has not been replicated, they have also never looked back at the down years of 1974-94.

          When Persa went down, it was from a bowl caliber team, one that should have won at least 8 games and likely the bowl, had he stayed healthy.

          The basketball team has barely progressed from those dark days of the 70s and 80s. Losing 2 starters this year only means that it slips from NIT-status which, frankly, seems like weak sauce. Last year’s team was widely hailed around these parts as a bubble team. But in the final analysis, the team was a 3-seed in the NIT. That means it was rated around No. 77-80 nationwide. If this is the zenith of the basketball program, color me unimpressed.

      • bd005

        The FB team was very lucky w/ the injury situation this year and when ONE player, Persa, went down a couple of years ago, the ‘Cats collapsed.
        USC won 1 conf. game last season due to injuries and almost the entire SEC is down this year due to injuries or simply having young rosters.

  • NorCalCat

    Glad to hear of the re-up with WGN. When I lived overseas I relied on the WGN live stream over the net to listen to Cats games. Its still a useful tool. If god forbid I have to be out of the house I’ll put it up on my phone and sneak a listen when I can.

  • Meowsers

    Some of us aren’t blowing up the phone lines and email of the administrators because we have better things to do with our time than starting a campaign to get a good man fired. Jim Phillips is the man best suited evaluate whether retaining Carmody is in the best interest of this team or not. Raising hell, threatening to stop donating, or whatever tactics of outrage you prefer to use only interferes with the process of making decisions in the best interest of the team. I have no problem debating on here whether the program is better or worse without him…but calling administrators — no thanks.

    Everyone knew this season would be ugly without Crawford…looking forward to watching this team next year and hope to see Carmody get one last shot at making the tournament.

    • Noah Kimmel

      I completely agree. I am not a Carmody supporter, but until recently have never felt he should lose his job. I’ve heard arguments on both sides and am not particularly swayed either way. As a true wildcat who bleeds purple, I wont hold my donations hostage to my weekend hobby of playing AD.

      I know unequivocally that I am a supporter of Dr. Philips. And I trust him to find and evaluate the best people for our school that balance our goals, culture, values, and commitments.

  • SB

    Great news about KQ moving to cornerback. The first step before critiquing schemes is to make sure we’ve got some athletes in the secondary, at every position. That size is great, too. This is a far comparison but look at the physicality of Brandon Browner for the Seahawks. He’s 6’4″ and huge, able to knock wideouts of their routes.

    The future is bright.

    • bd005

      Was always intrigued by the possibility of KQ being able to play CB due to his size (the ? was whether he had enough speed and “hop swivel”).
      Good to see that the coaches think he has what it takes to play corner, but that also points out the fact that the ‘Cats haven’t been able to recruit CBs over the past couple of years (only 1) which is the same situation for the D-line.

      • A friend of mine is a Bergen Catholic alum. Says that Queiro is almost always the best player on the field. Good to know.

  • EastCat

    I think one reason people aren’t lighting up the phone lines is because fans and alums think it really doesn’t matter. There were alot of us (me included) who thought a coaching change was in order last year. But it didn’t happen. So – at some point you lose interest and don’t want to keep banging your head against a brick wall (NU Administration).

    Regarding apathy and attendance. Pulezze! Are you kidding me? With our basketball product are you really surprised that students aren’t going and most of the fans are from the opposing team? This is DIRECTLY linked to the quality of the product we are putting on the floor. It’s awful. So people don’t want to come watch. Me included. What is so difficult to understand here people? It used to be this way in football too during the dark ages.

    Improve the product and the attendance will improve significantly. And, yes, the students will come.

    • SoCal Scott

      Unrealistic to expect students and local fans to embrace the team until athletic department embraces excellence. Sunday was the culmination of rush week…Greeks had other things to do besides watching NU get blown out by lowly Iowa.

  • alum dad

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t see how anyone can seriously think Bill Carmody deserves one more year. I think he deserves five less years. I’d call our men’s basketball program a train-wreck, but a train-wreck is over in seconds and then the recovery begins. Bill Carmody wrecks a train every year and then we give him another new one for the next year. It doesn’t matter whether we have high or low expectations at the beginning of each season. By mid-January (or sooner) of every season it is clear that we are severely out-classed in the B1G. Making the NIT shouldn’t be our goal. Making the NCAA shouldn’t be our goal. Hitting the floor with a team that has a chance to compete in every game of every season should be our goal. I don’t know how Phillips and Shapiro can accept this mess. I’m surprised Pat Ryan hasn’t asked to have his and his wife’s names taken off our basketball “facility”. It isn’t much of an arena to begin with, but adding our below-mediocre teams year after year is no way to attract talent (coaching or playing). Someone please stop the madness. I for one am extremely tired of Bill Carmody’s version of Groundhog Day.

    • bd005

      So injuries have nothing to do w/ it?
      I seem to recall the FB team getting pounded by UI and UW after ONE player, Persa, went down to injury.

      • Dave

        and football was ONE of 22 players (conceding it’s the most important position, but still)

        Basketball we’re missing 40% of what should have been our starting lineup in Cobb and Crawford, both of whom would’ve been the top players on the team.

  • ctya

    I personally decided before the season that I’m not spending any time or money on another Carmody-coached team. Haven’t regretted the decision yet.

    • bandcat

      made the same decision after attending our one and done in the B1G tournament in Indy last year… only exception was attending Butler /NU game…for obvious reasons..we actually had a chance in that one to my amazement. Hire someone who can RECRUIT… Not run a SYSTEM..that most modern day kids do not want to play….YIKESSSSSS

  • Al

    So our football games will be bumped by the Cubs (at least until October starts) and our basketball games will be bumped by the Hawks. Lovely.

    • skepticat

      No. In such cases the broadcast is moved to 560 AM (if I remember correctly) and is still available for online streaming.

      Of course, if you really can’t stand the flagship radio station of Chicago carrying our games and giving the university much-needed exposure it otherwise wouldn’t have, you’re also free to listen to the games on WNUR.

  • Chasmo

    It’s really hard to call for someone to get fired but LTP is right to be leaning in that direction. The man can’t motivate, the man can’t inspire, but most of all the man can’t recruit — at all.
    Yes, Vukusic, Coble, Juice Thompson, Shurna, and Crawford fell into his lap (none of those players were highly recruited by other BIg Ten teams), but he has yet to sign a kid whom several top Big Ten teams also wanted in 13 years. We can give him Cobb as a desired player whom he did manage to sign but he wasn’t a big Big Ten target.
    Now we have to start questioning Carmody’s ability to evaluate players. Here’s what Carmody said Sunday:
    “I thought Al (Olah) would come along, that if he got the ball inside, he’d be able to score a little bit. But he’s shying away from stuff and not going up and dunking it, trying to avoid contact and he has to push through it.”

    It’s rare that guys who don’t like contact — a very reasonable point of view unless one plays Big Ten basketball — suddenly develop a high tolerance for it as they get older. So it’s likely that Olah will be no better than any of the previous centers in the Carmody era even as a senior.
    I’ll feel bad for the assistant coaches, I’ll feel bad for the incoming recruits, I’ll feel bad for the kids on the team who really like him but, considering what he’s been paid over the years compared to what he’s produced, it will be hard to feel sorry for Bill if he gets fired.

  • skepticat

    “Three-man weave.” Is that what you call it when you pass the ball around outside the perimeter until heaving up a desperation three as the shot clock expires? Seems like signature Carmody-ball to me.

  • JB

    Injured players aside, our defense has never been a strong point, and our rebounding has always been abysmal. I’m fine with the Princeton offense and Carmody obviously is the best guy to coach that system. But in a year when we don’t have the scorers, I would at least like to see focus and improvement on the defensive and rebounding front, in what is a rebuilding year. Neither rely too much on great athleticism or talent – they are a function of coaching. But both are terrible, as usual.

    I’m losing confidence that a Carmody can really coach defense or rebounding, even when we do have the talent. (PS, I don’t buy that the Princeton offense is the reason we can’t rebound….)