First of all, congratulations to Mitch Henderson on being named head coach at Princeton. I’m sure it is very exciting for Mitch to get his first job as a head coach and even more exciting that he gets the job where he starred as a point guard. Of course, Mitch’s departure means that NU is in the market for a new assistant coach. The obvious on staff choice would be simply to promote Joe Kennedy from Director of Basketball Operations. However, I’m not sure that with him having only one year in that job if NU will decide to go that director for Joe. The argument is that he was really as an assistant coach for most of his playing career as we all remember him activity coaching from the sidelines, but it might benefit him to get a little more experience before being a paid assistant in the Big Ten. Of course, the popular choice would have to be Jitim Young who I consider Mr. Northwestern Basketball, but I’m not sure Jitim is ready to give up on playing just yet. Still, if I were Bill Carmody I would gauge Jitim’s interest. Another possibility is Nate Pomeday who currently works for Craig Robinson at Oregon State, but who, aside from playing at NU, has Midwestern roots. I’d look at him as a serious candidate.
As Coach Henderson leaves, his last effort for NU was the attempt to recruit center John Cannon. Cannon, a product of North Carolina, is in the final stages of deciding between NU and Georgia for college. He says that Henderson departure doesn’t make a difference, but I’m a little worried he scheduled a return trip to UGA for this weekend. If NU doesn’t sign Cannon this will be yet another spring where NU came close to adding a big man, but couldn’t close the deal.
John Shurna declared for the NBA draft, but didn’t hire an agent. Basically, this pretty much means that he is likely to come back to school, but wants to see what the NBA thinks of him. Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson did the same thing last spring. It does seem to be a good process to go through for college players because they get an honest outside critique of their game from experts. I suspect Shurna will be back in Evanston next fall, but hopefully he’ll learn something between now and then that makes it possible for him to play in the NBA in 2012-2013.