Hoopapalooza Stop 1: Evanston

Hoopapalooza Stop 1: Evanston

Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 10/16/2009 - 19:10
We’re 15 minutes into Northwestern’s first official practice. The fellas are stretching and sprinting. The coaches are shooting and chatting. Assistant coach Tavaras Hardy is bemoaning the Marriott burger he ate at midnight last night _ and alibi-ing that his jumper is broke because he just got off the plane from recruiting. Bill Carmody’s ever-present cup of coffee (straight black, never flavored) has decided to let the coach handle the start of this session. The java is resting on the scorer’s table and owns a prime seat for the proceedings. Yes, there’s a good vibe in Evanston right now. With everyone from last year’s rotation back -- except for third-team all-Big Ten guard Craig Moore -- the Wildcats are thinking about earning the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth. Well, they’re trying not to think too hard about it. In case you’ve forgotten, the Cats finished 17-14 last year, went to the NIT and wound up with an RPI of 79. That’s the school’s best rating in goodness knows how many years. Cut that in half, especially in the rugged Big Ten this season, and the 0-for-history streak is broken. “I can just see how they feel without me saying anything,” said Carmody, who’s starting his 10th year at NU. "I think it's a pretty confident bunch. I don't know if they're convinced, but they're confident that they're very capable. It's a little different feeling, I'd say." “(The NCAA Tournament) is certainly in our minds every day and the ultimate goal,” said senior Kevin Coble, who added 10 pounds of muscle, most of it in his upper body. “We just don’t want to be consumed by it. It’s a fine line, I think. Working day-by-day has gotten us to this point.” NU TIDBITS: --Sophomore 7-footer Kyle Rowley has ditched the walking boot that protected his broken left foot and he’s dressed for practice, but he’s not doing any of the drills that require a lot of force on his foot. --Junior point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson won the MVP award at the college division of Sonny Parker Summer League. There were eight teams in the league _ and the team headed by Thompson., Rowley an d freshman guards Drew Crawford and Alex Marcotullio won the title. Here’s Juice’s take on the team’s freshmen: “Alex is pretty good. He’s shooting the ball very well. And he rebounds well for a guy his size. Drew, he’s just a freak of nature. He catches all the alley-oops that I throw him. That’s something new for Northwestern that fans should get used to seeing.” OK. The guys are flying up and down the court doing the five-man weave…doing a lot of timed 3-point shooting drills and pretty much getting after it. We’d like to stay for the rest of the 2-and-a-half-hour session, but it’s time to hop in the Hoopmobile and hope for no more sleet as we head to DePaul. LW
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