On Tuesday, we posted part one of our Purple Mafia Profile with former Wildcat hoops standout, Kevin Coble. Today, we continue the conversation as well as several other Northwestern related tidbits. Let’s pick it up with #44…
LTP: We discussed the Michigan State win, but what other games or moments stick out in your memory bank?
KC: The Ohio State game at home when we won sticks out. I remember that Craig and I combined for more than 50 points that night and I just remember showing that burst, it was a glimpse of what we were capable of doing. Normally, we’d be outmatched physically with a Michigan State or an Ohio State, and it would be frustrating to not be able to do that every single night like we did against Ohio State, but when we did we had some exciting times. Beating Purdue and Indiana on the road, the games we mentioned (Michigan State, Ohio State), there are a lot of great memories from those games.
LTP: Who recruited you to NU?
KC: Paul Lee, before he left to go to Marist.
LTP: How did you find out about NU, what was the draw and what put you over the top to commit?
KC: I honestly didn’t know about Northwestern when I was being recruited, because it was mainly the Pac 12 schools and Ivy League schools that were recruiting. I had talked to some Big Ten schools, but I wasn’t really aware of Northwestern. I wasn’t really interested in going to the Midwest, but one of my club basketball coaches had grown up in Chicago and he suggested that I take a look at the school. I said “talk to me about it” and at that time I had been getting letters from them, but had just been putting them to the side. I then started doing some really good research about the school and learned about the outstanding academics and the program and Coach Carmody and how they played. As I learned more about the Princeton offense and the motion it created combined with my game and the things that I do, I felt it offered a framework for me to play my own game at the next level.
I went up there on a couple of visits and just really liked everything about the school. I really liked the guys on the team, the campus, everything. It was almost a surreal experience, stepping on that campus and getting that feeling that this is where I should be.
LTP: You mentioned that you would at times, get frustrated, that despite some very positive nights, you and the team couldn’t be more consistent. As you look at Coach Collins, what is it really going to take to get this program to the next level?
KC: I think it’s going to primarily come down to improving the talent level. I feel the talent level is just a notch below the other B1G schools. You can get away with that at times with the Princeton offense, the 1-3-1 and the match-up zone, and some smoke and mirror things to keep teams on their toes, but the talent level must increase. You look across the roster of other teams and some of the guys that aren’t even playing would come right in at Northwestern and play right away. We’d have six or seven guys and it would drop off and then you’re relying on guys who might not make another B1G team to really make the difference.
It’s tough. If you look at playing time, guys like Mike (Juice Thompson) was playing 37, 38 minutes per game, I was playing 36 or so and over the course of the year, if you break that down over the course of the year, if you play a total of 20 minutes less, that’s one half you didn’t have to play. That is saving considerable amounts of energy down the stretch when it counts. I think that’s going to be key to develop a sustainable bench and a system that can compete nightly with the Michigan States, Indianas and Ohio States. I think it really comes down to personnel.
LTP: One thing that intrigues me is the fact that Coach Carmody spent 13 years developing the Princeton offense as a system. It’s what attracted you (among other things). Now, Coach Collins inherits a team that was built for a specific system and he’s been vocal about creating a system that adapts to the players that he has. Talk about the transition of going from the Princeton offense to what this very next year could possibly look like.
KC: The Princeton offense is really impressive if you have five guys that are really suited for it. We were usually one guy short. At times it was the center who we relied on to step out and be able to hit that three to pull out the defense. You’re also asking a ton from that center. You’re asking them to go in to the post, you’re asking them to dribble, hand-off, pass. Most of the guys that are really, really good at it are pros. It’s tough for some professional players to even pull it off at that position. If you’re not suited for the system, it can be tough to try and adapt your game to fit the system. I personally think it is a better philosophy to mold a system around the players that you have and bring in versus this is the system. So, maybe it will be a good shake-up. Again, it comes down to personnel. I think it could be really good to customize the scheme around the players that you have.
LTP: Do you have a relationship with any of your teammates or the administration?
KC: I stayed in touch with Johnny during his scoring record. I’d email him from time to time and I was texting Juice last year when he was playing overseas and Drew Crawford when he got hurt. I kept in touch with Coach Robinson at Oregon State and Mitch (Henderson) at Memphis and just emailed Tavaras congratulating him and of course Coach Lee. I also communicate with Dr. Phillips and was excited to see him get promoted to whatever long title it is that he now has (laughs)…deep down he loves NU and the kids and in someway I hope that there may be an opportunity to work at Northwestern, whether in player development, as a coach, or in some other capacity. I’d like some way to give back given the way things went down. Nothing would make me happier to be a part of that team or that program, especially with the new regime in place, there seems like a fresh start.
LTP: While I can’t speak for NU, I can speak, to some degree, for the fans in this community and on behalf of many of them, I think we would love to see you get back involved in NU basketball. I appreciate the time and we look forward to connecting soon. Anything else?
KC: Yes, I just want to say how much I appreciate what the fans have gone through. We were very disappointed we weren’t the ones to break through because we so badly wanted to and know the fans wanted it just as much. They stuck with us and were great and based on everything that went down with me I’d very much like to figure out a way to pay them back, even if it is in a small way.
LTP: Thanks Kevin! Your message is now shared….
Cal Kickoff Set
Wow. Northwestern kicks off the season against Cal in what will be billed as the Late Late show in Evanston and points east. The PAC-12 announced kickoff times for several games and NU gets an 10:30 pm et/9:30pm ct start time. You can bet Fitz will be none too pleased with this deal. The game will be on ESPN2 so at least we won’t be scrambling for bars that carry the Pac12 network. That is going to be one heck of a long day for Wildcat Nation. I get so pumped up for games, I’ll be drained before kickoff even starts that night.
The arms race has become almost silly in the team uniform game. Cal is the latest to announce new unis, with a new logo and new Nike uniforms, which will first be worn against NU on August 31. Click here to check them out.
I’m bummed I’m missing Saturday night’s NGN auction at Soldier Field (6pm) , but you should definitely sign up. How cool is it that you can get everything from golf with Dan Persa (starting bid $200), sideline pass access for the Michigan game ($1000 starting) or lunch with Purple Mafia Profilee Christine Brennan ($500 starting) among 100+ unique NU-related auction items? This is a shame I’m missing it, but family first (I have a commitment out of town that day)!
If you’re interested contact Jean Yale firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-491-3694 to sign-up or get more details. Tell her, LTP sent you!
Kevin Trahan of InsideNU.com offers a robust post on the final four slots for the NU 2014 recruiting class. It’s a great up-to-the-minute look at how few spots remain for so many interested parties. This is where the inside info would be fascinating. NU has several needs on defense with this class, yet some big name offensive players are out there. You wonder how they manage this process, as the heat surrounding so few spots has to create some leverage. You also don’t want to miss out on a spot for someone that is a special talent like Garrett Dickerson. I’d love to see the inside out view on how this process is managed.
Rodger Sherman over at SippinOnPurple is doing another year of another NU-specific, Paul Myerberg-esque countdown. Each day is another number relevant to NU. For example, yesterday, day 94 until kickoff, featured #94, Dean Lowry. Rodger somehow finds the time to do anagrams on each players name which gets all kind of props for novelty and brain space used. It’s become a daily joy to see what he comes up with.
LTP Ticket Challenge – Project Protect This House
OK. The mojo continues! We need your help, however! Brent and Paymon have been hard at work. They’ve secured 18 single game, purple-wearing fans for the Ohio State game, but, they maxed out of their allotment. Email me at email@example.com if you are willing to help them buy the remaining 8 they need. It’s as simple as calling your ticket rep and giving them permission. On with the shout outs!!!
Season Tickets – GOAL: 200/Currently 136 (68% of goal!)
We’re back on track! Bill Rustico of New Jersey bought four season tickets and donated them to the military, which is an incredibly generous gesture. Corey Sampsel put two new season tickets on the board as well. We’re now closing in to the point where you can almost taste it!
Remember, for the same price as ONE single game ticket on StubHub for the Ohio State game, you can own a SEASON ticket. We’re 68% of the way to goal of 200 NEW season tickets and need only 64 to get there. Say it with me now…with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Syracuse headlining a 7-game home slate on the heels of a 10-win season, now is the best time to get on board with season tickets. Simply call 888-Go-Purple and ask for Mike Zoller, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you a shout out. The ‘Cats play three night games (Syracuse, Western Michigan and Ohio State) this season and it is sure to crank up the level of fun for tailgating as well. You can also order NU season tickets online – click here to get right to the order page.
SINGLE GAME TICKET CHALLENGE/Project Protect This House! – Goal: 500/Currently: 244 (49% of goal!)
Getting season ticket holders to step up and buy single game tickets has been going like gangbusters. We mentioned above that Paymon Farazi and his classmate Brent have maxed out their 10 single game ticket allotment which pushes us to 244. Yet, they’ve got eight more NU buyers ready to go but need your help to leverage your single game ticket options.
All told, the above brings us to 244 total single game tickets and 49% of our goal of 500 SINGLE GAME tickets in hopes of blocking the sea of Scarlet & Gray and Maize & Blue.
Season ticket holders are afforded the exclusive right to gobble up as many as 10 single game tickets for ANY game, including Ohio State and Michigan. Many of you are looking to buy single game tickets from existing season ticket holders – well, the LTP Exchange is now open for you to do just that! Also, check out this email from Shawn B. on how easy it was to help a fellow Wildcat fan out to buy single game tickets on his behalf:
You too can help us defend Ryan Field and box out the Buckeyes and Wolverines by purchasing single game tickets and start recruiting friends, neighbors and co-workers to join you for a one game experience that will whet their appetite for taking the plunge. We’ve just added a NEW scoreboard (Upper right)to track the single game tickets that you folks are starting to gobble up. Email us your wins of buying single game tickets and we’ll give you a shout out. Simply email us at email@example.com.
Please use the LTP EXCHANGE to help your efforts!!!