Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Northwestern's Michael Turner takes leave of absence from basketball team

After spending a year taking classes in Evanston/downtown Chicago, I've become somewhat of a follower of Northwestern sports. As such, I'll probably post bits here and there about Northwestern athletics, because why not.

In that vein, Northwestern backup forward/center Michael Turner has left the team for a leave of absence. Here's Sippin' on Purple on the situation:
From a basketball perspective, this doesn't concern me too much. While Turner had a scant few strong performances last year -- two-for-two shooting and eight assists against Ohio State! -- he generally seemed not ready for Big Ten play as a redshirt freshman after Bill Carmody decided he wasn't ready for Big Ten play as a true freshman. He had more personal fouls than any other statistic by a wide margin, often outmatched as a 6'8, 210-pound player asked to play center against legit seven-footers.
On the surface, this isn't a huge loss for Chris Collins's Wildcats. However, according to the comments section, this leaves Northwestern with just 11 players on the roster, and just 10 players on scholarship. Needless to say, that is a pretty bleak situation, depth-wise, for Collins going into his first year in Evanston.

On the bright side, sophomore 7-footer Alex Olah is a promising young player in the frontcourt for the 'Cats, and Drew Crawford--who should be one of the best guards in the Big Ten again this season---decided not to transfer for his fifth year after Bill Carmody's firing. The Wildcats also return point guard Dave "Sobocop" Sobolewski, in addition to JerShon Cobb, who missed all of last season due to an academic suspension.

It's hard to say this is a tournament team given Northwestern basketball's history, and Turner's decision, while seemingly not a big deal on paper, detracts a bit from Northwestern's frontcourt depth. Northwestern will need to count on RS Fr. Chier Ajou to eat up some minutes after redshirting last year due to injuries.

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