Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rowley Transfer Opens Opportunity for Curletti, Ryan and Recruiting

Kyle Rolwey departs Northwestern after playing 61 games for the Wildcats

If you don’t already know, Kyle Rowley will be transferring from Northwestern with hopes of playing in a program which better fits his skill. Unlike past NU transfers who pretty much only hurt NU (Rex Walters and Geno Carlisle), only hurt themselves (Matt Moran and Carvell Ammons), or hurt both (Steve Lepore), this move will help both Northwestern and Kyle.

While you hate to see any player that you recruited transfer away, I have to believe Bill Carmody realized at some point in the last two years that Kyle Rowley was the ultimate square peg in a round hole at Northwestern. In an offense where the center can get a lot of open threes, Rowley had no range past five feet. Playing a 1-3-1 defense where the center has to be mobile to slide down and help a smaller baseline defender, Rowley was big and sluggish and couldn’t move. If we go back to the Spring of 2008 when Rowley was recruited he was a big get for NU, but at the time NU was desperate for size and Carmody, Hardy, and the rest of the NU coaches probably were willing to ignore some of Kyle’s faults since he was 7-feet and 280-pounds. Those attributes where enough to get Rowley almost 30 starts as a freshman, but even with those starts Rowley eventually gave way to Luka Mirkovic in terms of minutes played. This season Mirkovic still wasn’t an ideal Princeton Offense center, but his occasional ability to hit a three and more mobile defensive ability made him get the majority of the starts. Making things even tougher for Rowley, Davide Curletti showed the ability to pass and shoot from the top of the key as well during the Big Ten season which pretty much restricted Rowley to the bench. At that point I began to believe Rowley would benefit from a redshirt next season. Now, he’ll get one, but it’ll be someone else as he waits out a year as a transfer. To some extent I find that a disappointment, but the truth is even with a redshirt Rowley never would have become a Princeton Offense center. Now, the opportunity exists for others to take advantage.

First off, this is potentially good news for Jeff Ryan. Now, instead of having to comeback as a walk-on next year, Ryan could get a scholarship for his fifth season. That to me is well deserved given the effort Jeff has put in to rehab since his injury. Also, Rowley being gone and NU only having two true centers opens up the possibility of more three guard lineups which gives Ryan the chance to play more. A lineup which features 6-5 Drew Crawford and 6-6 Jeff Ryan at guard spots along with 6-8s Kevin Coble and John Shurna at forward does give the Wildcats a pretty good rebounding team as Ryan is still one of NU’s best leapers.

The other player who should benefit from the Rowley transfer is Davide Curletti. Curletti looked like he might have jumped Rowley this season, but now he’ll get his practice time as well. I’ve been convinced for a while that NU had too many centers on the roster. Especially with none distinguishing themselves as it meant all three (or four with Ivan Peljusic) needed to get practice reps. Now, I think NU can focus on using Mirkovic and Curletti at center most of the time with occasional use of Peljusic. As a result, I suspect you’ll see both improve their overall game (but especially their inside post moves and passing) with the extra practice.

Finally, theoretically this opens up another spot for a class of 2010 recruit. However, I’m not really sure what’s available that would be better than just holding the scholarship for another year. Still, it would be worth looking around.

Bottom line, I wish Kyle Rowley a lot of luck. The odds of success for him will increase in a more traditional system and Northwestern will benefit by having more natural fits for the Princeton Offense getting reps in practice.

1 comment:

Sasser said...

I wholeheartedly agree that this was probably a situation that benefits all parties. In terms of the recruiting period, it's starting to get quite late to get a HS player to join the ranks for the 2010-11 season, so just offering the scholarship to Ryan seems the best fit. We need a guard who can spell Crawford and play very solid defense, and I wouldn't be surprised if he took Nash's spot at the top of the 1-3-1 or be the helper for Marcotullio in the trap.

Rowley fell on some hard times this year. Having a major injury before the beginning of the season severely hampers your development, and he just never seemed to recover. Although he's foul-prone, a lot of his commits were along the perimeter. I wager he'll do a lot better at a program where he can just play inside and that's it.

As for the remaining lot, I still have reservations about Curletti, because he still gives up a lot of size to the other centers in the conference (even Mirkovic, for that matter). He needs to bulk up and become one of those guys who can get inside and make the 8-10 foot turnaround jumpers.