The 2012–13 Louisville frontcourt is pretty much set.
At center, there is ever-developing block specialist Gorgui Dieng. At power forward, there is Chane Behanan, an adept post scorer who could be the nation’s likeliest big-time breakout candidate. At small fowrard, there is sophomore Wayne Blackshear, a top 2011 recruit who missed much of the season thanks to shoulder surgeries, and backing this group up is forward Stephen Van Treese, a talent who likewise missed 2011 with injuries.
Where, you may ask, does forward Jared Swopshire fit into all this? Turns out, he doesn’t.
Per ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers and Louisville Courier-Journal reporter C.L. Brown, Swopshire took a look at that Cardinals frontcourt, realized playing time would be scant and decided to transfer to Northwestern. Because Swopshire will be pursuing a graduate degree not offered at Louisville, he will be eligible to play immediately.
That is excellent news for both parties. Swopshire was stuck in a lurch at Louisville; he has a worthwhile outside-in skill set for a 6-foot–9 forward, but isn’t nearly good enough to warrant many minutes with Dieng, Behanan, Van Treese and Blackshear crowding the frontcourt. But he could be a very good fit at Northwestern, which not only has to replace the scoring chops of departing senior John Shurna, but which desperately needs a legitimate interior presence – something, anything– to keep pace in a bruising Big Ten. Swopshire offers the immediate promise of both.
And so the big Northwestern question looms large yet again: Is this the year Bill Carmody finally, mercifully gets the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament? The jury is still (obviously) very much out. But alongside returning guards like Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb and Reggie Hearn, Swopshire will give the Wildcats a brand of athleticism they’ve rarely fielded in the Carmody era, and which they demonstrably lacked in crucial moments in 2012’s disappointing tourney-bereft finish.
At the very least, Swopshire’s transfer choice offers that promise. Win-win, this one.