Kevin Coble walked into Bill Carmody’s office Monday and, as part of their discussion, informed him he wouldn’t be a part of Northwestern’s team next season.
The Wildcats announced today that Coble plans to graduate in December with a degree in political science. He finishes as the school’s No. 14 scorer (1,203 points) and could have risen to third had he stayed and hit his 14.9 career average.
“We’ve had some talks for the last while,” Carmody said Tuesday. “You just have to respect that and respect what’s he’s done.”
To be certain, Coble’s ongoing rehabilitation for his recovering left foot was an important factor. Coble suffered a Lisfranc fracture on Nov. 10 in practice that cost him all of last season. It’s an injury that can require more than a year to heal…if it heals sufficiently, which it sounds like it will.
Here’s part of Coble’s statement released Tuesday: “The recovery of my foot is most important and extends far beyond my basketball career. I will continue to follow my surgeon's rehabilitation schedule and have been told by my surgeon that I will have a full recovery. I will not be transferring to another school and with that, will be finishing the last of my classes at Northwestern this fall.”
As for what Coble’s departure means for NU’s chances at the NCAA Tournament this winter, I’d say the Wildcats and Carmody aren’t nearly as concerned as the outside basketball world.
While talking with Carmody in late June about this season’s prospects (Lindy’s preseason basketball magazine has deadlines, you know), he was leery about putting too much stock in having a healthy Coble and fellow fifth-year senior Jeff Ryan for the entire season.
Carmody noticed how long it took Northwestern defensive end Corey Wootton to recover from his serious knee injury. Wootton, who suffered multiple traumas to his knee at the end of 2008 in the Alamo Bowl, never returned to 100 percent for the Wildcats and might still be shy of that as he prepares for his first Chicago Bears camp.
Moreover, everyone must remember Northwestern retains every starter except Jeremy Nash from the school’s first 20-win team. Incoming freshman JerShon Cobb and sophomore Alex Marcotullio _ who returned home today from a successful run with Great Britain’s U-20 national team _ are more natural fits in the backcourt.
Coble’s decision means sophomore Drew Crawford stays on the wing _ though he can switch to guard on occasion _ while forwards Mike Capocci and Ivan Peljusic have renewed incentive to bust their butts throughout their senior year.
“We have a veteran team,” Carmody said. “You just keep going.”