Jared Swopshire’s season is over after arthroscopic surgery
Jared Swopshire’s season has come to a disappointing end after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. Swopshire injured his knee Saturday in Iowa City when he landed awkwardly on his knee while going up for a layup in the second half.
To say that this is a big loss might be an understatement. With injury already claiming Drew Crawford’s season and hampering Sanjay Lumpkin and Nikola Cerina’s development — not to mention the suspension to JerShon Cobb — the Wildcats were already vastly undermanned and relying on unproven players who needed to step up.
Swopshire, you could say, was one of those after playing mostly a reserve role in three years at Louisville before transferring to Northwestern. He certainly signed up for a bigger role, but probably not as big as the one he ended up taking on. Swopshire was going to be that jack-of-all-trades power forward that Northwestern always seems to need. He was going to add some athleticism, some spot scoring, defense and rebounding. The perfect kind of complement to the efforts of Drew Crawford, Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski.
It was really unfortunate that Swopshire did not get the benefit of the decision he made in coming to Northwestern — except the opportunity to get that graduate degree in sports administration.
We all feel badly for Jared that he won’t be able to play out the remainder of his final collegiate season,” Northwestern head men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody said. “He has been a terrific addition to the program, both on and off the court. He was enjoying a very productive year and was playing his most consistent basketball of the season when the injury occurred. There is every indication that he’ll experience a full recovery.
There was not a lot of expectation or not a lot known about what Swopshire could do when he came in. He played such a little role off the bench for a successful Louisville team, there was not a whole lot known what he would do in a larger role. Thus the expectations were the assumptions described above.
Almost immediately, Swopshire seemed to be asked to do more than that. And he struggled adjusting. He struggled more still when Crawford went out and he became even more central to the offense.
The sad part, it finally seemed like Swopshire was getting comfortable and producing at a level far beyond our expectations. For the season, he averaged 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. In his last seven games, he averaged 11.7 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game, including a Bill Carmody-era record 16 rebounds against Nebraska. Often, his scoring was critical to Northwestern winning games.
Swopshire is not going to have poems written about him in Northwestern lore.
He is not the determined underdog like Michael Thompson. Nor was he the selfless scorer like John Shurna. Or the walk-on-turned-emotional-core like Reggie Hearn.
Swopshire, in the end was probably asked to do more than he could do. And, just when it seemed like he had a grip and comfort in his new role was taken away from Northwestern. It is truly sad that someone who had done all the right things and had done everything asked of him is being forced to end his career on the injured list next tot he teammates he thought he would be competing for an NCAA Tournament berth with.
It is hard to say what Swopshire could have done if he got to play with the roster he was supposed to be joining. It is hard now to say what Northwestern could have done if Swopshire kept playing as well as he could.
Now, it just feels like a snake-bitten season, and that is unfair to Swopshire.
Swopshire will not go down as one of the great Northwestern seniors of all time like so many of the seniors in recent years. Swopshire though was a great player to watch. It is only sad that we did not get to see him develop even more fully as this year continued.