Anyone who has ever sat on a bench knows that while you certainly cheer on your teammates you don’t object when a coach gives you a chance to play instead of them whether due a teammate’s poor play, injury, or anything else. When JerShon Cobb got up this morning he likely saw himself as a bench player on the NU squad who would play some minutes, but would have trouble cracking a starting lineup with Kevin Coble, John Shurna, and Drew Crawford holding down wing scoring spots. Now that equation has changed. Kevin Coble won’t be walking into NU’s locker room this year. That means Cobb is likely a day one starter following the footsteps of Juice Thompson, John Shurna, Coble, and several others in the Bill Carmody era.
I know some of you will say I’m disrespecting Alex Marcotullio when I project a lineup of:
However, I don’t intend to do so. I’m an Alex Marcotullio fan. At the end of last year when Marcotullio was really struggling I might have been the only one outside of his family. I just don’t think he’s a better choice than Cobb to start in the Big Ten right now. From all preseason reports Cobb is masterful at going one-on-one and scoring. Even with Shurna’s great play, what NU really missed last year was a guy who could end an opponents’ run with a basket produced from nothing. That was a Coble specialty and it will be one for Cobb as well. Also, with Cobb’s athletic 6-5 frame he probably offers more rebounding from the guard spot than Marcotullio will. NU needs to rebound and with Cobb, Crawford, Shruna, and Mirkovic you probably have four of your six best rebounders on the floor. Backup centers Davide Curletti and Iven Peljusic can hit the boards as well, but don’t provide the overall game of the other four. Still, I bet they both just realized they’ll be playing a bunch more as well. Two other players who could see more time are Mike Capocci and Jeff Ryan. I’ll have a more specific post on Ryan’s ability to contribute coming up in the future.
Bottom line, though, it is now JerShon Cobb time in Evanston. Go by a number 23 jersey, or just put some tape over Jeremy Nash’s name (not that we don’t love Jeremy Nash, I just want to help folks save money in today’s poor economic times). Kevin Coble averaged 14.9 ppg in his NU career. Cobb doesn’t have to beat that this year, but he can and that’s what counts. This is now his time. NU will miss Kevin Coble, but they didn’t have him last year either and won plenty of games. The only difference this year is that unlike last year John Shurna and Drew Crawford have another very athletic player to throw the ball to when they get in trouble, and trust me folks, he’s going to know what to do with it.