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Senior Departures Usher in New Era at Northwestern

The loss of a couple key seniors means NU will have to compensate this season. But could these graduations really be addition by subtraction?

JerShon Cobb (left) and Dave Sobolewski move on, but the Wildcats are progressively improving
JerShon Cobb (left) and Dave Sobolewski move on, but the Wildcats are progressively improving
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats' goal of reaching the NCAA tournament fell short last season, but many believe they return in 2015 back and better than ever. Regardless the Wildcats still face the task of making up for seniors lost to graduation this past spring. Who are these subtractions and what do they mean for NU and their program going forward?

Dave Sobolewski, PG

In an odd way, it's as if part of Sobolewski graduated last season. The go-to point guard for Bill Carmody during his first two seasons at Northwestern, Dave saw his numbers and minutes hit a major decline as an upperclassmen. During his freshman and sophomore year, Sobolewski averaged a combined 9.1 PPG, 3.8 APG with an impressive 35 minutes per game. However, in the past two years his minutes dropped to 21.4 then 10.9, his points to 5.0 then 2.6.

Much of this can be attributed to the addition of 2014-2015 standout freshman Bryant McIntosh, and Sobolewski's subsequent reassignment as a leader from the bench and mentor to his younger equal. His veteran presence will certainly be a loss, but not one the Cats can't replace. All things considered, it wouldn't be surprising to see Big Dave back as a low-level assistant sometime in the future. He's a true team guy with a lot of value to offer both in experience and perspective. Until then...

JerShon Cobb, SG

Cobb is an interesting loss of the Wildcats. He, like Sobolewski, saw his numbers decline significantly during his senior season, much in part to to an unfortunate string of injuries. After averaging 12.2 PPG and 33.6 MPG in 2013-2014, ailments in the feet and knees (yes, plural) kept Cobb limited for much of the season. He proceeded to put up just 6.1 MPG and 22.3 MPG last year, a lamenting signal that his run as a collegiate player was nearing its end.

"I feel badly for JerShon because he's a really good player," said head coach Chris Collins last season. "He's just a shell of what he was. And that hurts me because I hate seeing that as a senior."

Despite not losing a huge offensive threat, the Wildcats will still have to compensate for the loss of a veteran leader in the locker room. This role will likely be filled by guys like Tre Demps and Alex Olah, who now take the reigns of the program. As far as on the court, it can be expected that junior Sanjay Lumpkin and sophomore Scottie Lindsey will pick up the slack. Lumpkin is due to play upwards of 30.0 MPG in 2015-2016, and his scoring needs to increase from 4.3 per contest last year. Regardless, Northwestern faces the not-so-easy task of filling Cobb's hole this season.

Jeremiah Kreisberg, F

Kreisberg will be the least missed of these three graduates. A senior transfer from Yale, he saw very limited playing time throughout the season, averaging about 6.5 minutes per appearance. At 6-10, his departure will most affect the depth of Northwestern's front court. That being said, the Wildcats look to bring a more athletic starting five to the table this year with McIntosh, Demps, Law/ Lumpkin, Falzon and Olah. This frees up the Cats for a more dynamic offense.

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What are your thoughts? Who will Northwestern miss the most? Comment below!