When Northwestern Wildcat forward Kevin Coble injured his left ankle during a practice last spring, he took the team’s heightened chances of making the NCAA Tournament with him.
In a press release from the Northwestern Athletic Department, Coble announced his intentions to forgo his senior season as a member of the Northwestern men’s basketball team. He intends to complete his education at NU and is slated to earn his degree in political science in December 2010.
Coble concluded his time at Northwestern ranked 14th in school history with 1,203 career points. He led the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding in each of his three seasons, including becoming the first player in program history to do so his freshman season. A member of the 2006-07 Big Ten All-Freshman Team, he was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore before being named to the All-Big Ten second team his junior year.
Although Coble could be considered some form of proof for the Patrick Ewing Theory (Northwestern won 20 games for the first time in school history last year), his absence from the team then and the half year leave he took to tend to his cancer-stricken mother tragically hindered a potentially record-breaking career as a Wildcat.
Had Coble played all four years at Northwestern, he would’ve easily become the school’s all-time leading scorer, assuming he continued his development as star player and leader.
Apparently, the versatile forward’s ankle injury was much worse than originally anticipated, and it’s hard to hold Coble’s decision against him when a re-injury could very well leave him limping for the rest of his life. After all, at the end of the day a basketball player is a human being first.
It would be great to see Coble on the sidelines as a coach somewhere in the future, but until then it’s only right to wish him the best in his pursuit for a greater calling than the annuls of Wildcat lore. Welsh-Ryan Arena will miss you next winter!
– Jake McCormick