Oct. 25, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We have with us Northwestern head Coach Bill Carmody. He enters his 13th season with the Wildcats and returns four starters and seven letter winners from last year's team. Coach?
BILL CARMODY: Good morning everybody. We have four starters back, we lost a good kid in [John] Shurna and four starters back sounds great, but we have nine guys on our team that have never played for Northwestern.
We're trying to integrate the veterans with these new guys, and a couple of them aren't rookies, they're not green. You have Tre [Demps], a transfer from TCU who sat out last year in Nikola Czerina and then we have Jared Swopshire, a fifth-year guy, he played at Louisville, in the Final Four last year, so he's new to Northwestern and not new to college basketball and the high level of college basketball.
We're just trying to get some of these guys all of the sudden last year we had a number of injuries, we thought we were deep and by the end of the year we had seven guys because we had four or five that couldn't play. So we had to go small. But we've gotten big quickly and we are just looking forward to trying to get some of these big, young guys into the fold, into the mix so they can be ready opening night.
Q. Coach, you kind of brought up the loss of John Shurna. He's been the face of the program the last few years, who do you think takes over that role? Do you think it defaults to Drew Crawford as the leader in the face of the team?
BILL CARMODY: Yeah, Drew Crawford was the co rookie in the Big Ten three years ago and he's had a nice career, I think he averaged 16 or 17 points a game last year, and he may have deferred to John a little bit and I may have called John's number more than Drew's at different times, but he's certainly a terrific year and I think he's going to have a break out year if you can say a guy who started for three years and scored a lot of points and been a quiet leader for us, I think he can have one heck of a year this year.
Q. Can you talk about the development of Reggie Hearn from a former walk on player to a full time starter last year?
BILL CARMODY: He came in from high school and when you say "walk-on" sometimes you think these guys don't know how to play, he was a good player in Fort Wayne, Indiana and he had some offers and he said he was going to get better and I told him if he came and helped us, I would give him a scholarship. He looked good as a freshman in practice. I wish I'd redshirted him now, but last year he started every game. Hard worker, back to the basket player in high school and now he's in the backcourt and last year he was with Dave Sobolewski bringing the ball up the court and he's worked on his skills, so it's great to see a guy like that come around.
I don't think of him as a walk on anymore. He's a really good kid, excellent student.
Q. With the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago this year, can you talk about how that might be important for Northwestern and a great home court advantage?
BILL CARMODY: I liked Indianapolis, but I was always in favor of alternating, just because Indianapolis gives you that collegiate feeling, the hotels and the restaurants and the venue is right there, but Chicago is media it's a different place, and it's great, and I'm real excited about us being there.
I think it will just be good for the University, for Northwestern and the Big Ten in general. As far as advantage, we haven't played there. I'm trying to think if any of our guys have played there, so I don't think it's an advantage but the fans will be able to get there more easily.
Q. Can you talk about the loss of JerShon Cobb and how you fill that role there?
BILL CARMODY: We play a center and four guys around the perimeter, so we have a few freshmen who I think are good. Kale and Sanjay and with the addition of Jared I think we're going to be okay in the perimeter. JerShon has to take care of business and we will welcome him back next year.
Q. Last year the lack of rebounding hurt you, what are you going to do this year?
BILL CARMODY: Just throw out some raw steaks on the court? What are you going to do? You can do rebounding drills forever, you gotta get the ball. The guys have to go after it that's all I can tell it you. There is some talent involved, some ability involved, but you're right, we clearly have to get better at that because I think our defense is okay, except once it goes up, and that's part of the defense, you have to finish the play. I think we keep our bodies in front of guys, but kids getting second and third shots killed us.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach, best of luck.
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