Welp: Northwestern loses its second key component to a season ending injury, as reports indicate starting power forward Jared Swopshire will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, ending his college career:
Jared Swopshire is likely out for the season, a source says. No official word from #Northwestern on the type injury.— Chris Emma (@CEmmaFOX) February 12, 2013
We now have official word that does indicate his college career is done.
Swopshire transferred in for a graduate season from Louisville after playing a bit part on a team that went to the Final Four with a mission: play solid defense and lessen Drew Crawford's scoring load on a team that could have been the first in Northwestern history to make the NCAA Tournament - tourney experience and leadership were extras. Obviously, it hasn't gone as planned: Crawford's shoulder injury put him out for the year, and all of a sudden, Swop was NU's third-leading scorer.
In that role, he wasn't bad: he was one of the key players in some of NU's wins, with 17 points against Penn State, 12 against Illinois, and 16 in an upset win against Minnesota. Not to mention the perimeter defense was as good as told, and he happened to be one of NU's best rebounder - one of the best in a long time, in fact. Sure, he had some really rough outings - 0-for-6 in a loss to Baylor, 0-for-4 against Illinois-Chicago - but the good outweighed the bad, with his jumper seeming to improve every game.
It was really impressive stuff from Swop: he had a bigger role than he ever did at Louisville, playing almost as many minutes this year as he ever did at Louisville, and in way less games, with career highs in scoring and rebounding - 9.7 and 6.7. And even his shooting numbers went up: he shot a career-best 45.1 percent from the field and 35.6 from three, after never having shot over 33 percent. You don't normally see a guy play more minutes and also play better in those minutes in just one year, but Swop did it. His 22 points in the season-opener were a career high, and his 16 rebounds against Nebraska were the most by a Northwestern player since Evan Eschmeyer.
And just like that, he's gone. It sucks to see a guy's career end by injury, but it looks like that's the case. He did take a redshirt year as a junior at Louisville after injuring his groin that year, but he's still out of eligibility.
That brings the number of NU players with season-ending injuries to five, including two starters, not to mention JerShon Cobb, who is suspended for the year.
Best of luck to Swop in all his endeavors, but this is just another bump in a rough season. You knew it was bad news when he couldn't walk off the court with less than a month left in the year, but its still hard to see. We'll remember his grit and desire to help out in just a single season. Get that Master's son.
Swop it like it's hot, Jared. Swop it like it's hot.