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Kale Abrahamson Shies Away from John Shurna Comparisons Following Season-Opening Win

by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)

Kale Abrahamson hears your John Shurna comparisons, and he wants none of it — especially not on his shot.

“They say my shot looks like his,” Abrahamson said. “I tend to disagree, but it’s whatever.”

Abrahamson’s shooting motion is more orthodox than Shurna’s, but all that matters is that the ball goes in the basket, and in that regard, Abrahamson knows he hasn’t quite reached Shurna’s level, even after scoring 15 points in Northwestern’s 79-49 win over Texas Southern. After all, those 15 points are 2,023 points short of Shurna’s career points total.

“I try to stay away from comparisons like that at this point,” Abrahamson said. “It’s an honor to be compared to him, anyway.”

Still, 15 points, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, is going to turn some heads, especially coming from a player who some people speculated could redshirt this season due to a shaky performance in NU’s exhibition game. He didn’t even know when — or if — he would hear his name called Tuesday night.

“I wasn’t really concerned about it; I just wanted to be ready whenever he called my name,” he said. “That’s what they tell you to do, so I was trying to just sit there and be ready. It was a great experience. “

Texas Southern didn’t expect to see much from Abrahamson, either.

“I think he introduced himself to our players,” Tigers coach Mike Davis said.

Abrahamson’s opportunity came after Sanjay Lumpkin — another freshman who appeared to be ahead of Abrahamson — was forced to sit out due to a mono diagnosis. Lumpkin and Abrahamson will both play this year, but Tuesday night gave Abrahamson a chance to make his case for playing time.

“I just knew Sanjay was going to be out for the past few days, so (Abrahamson) got a lot of cracks in there,” coach Bill Carmody said. “Sanjay had been playing well though, so probably, there was an opportunity and (Abrahamson) took advantage of it.”

Abrahamson’s versatility was perhaps his biggest asset against the Tigers. His three-pointers — especially the two from way downtown — got most of the attention, but his ability to drive the lane makes him a major threat offensively.

“He gives you a little different dimension out there, and he’s fast,” Carmody said. “He’s going to make shots and they’re going to guard him, and he’s going to get a lot of layups going backdoor.”

However, even after Abrahamson’s breakout performance, there were still times when he reminded everyone that this is the first time he’s stepped on a college court in a regulation game. Those mistakes are bound to happen with freshmen.

“He can make shots, and he’s got to calm down, too, because he’s excitable, also,” Carmody said.

Abrahamson, too, knows there is a lot for him to work on. He may have gotten star treatment against Texas Southern, but he’s just thankful for the opportunity and taking everything in stride.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I just want to thank my coaches for giving me the opportunity to get in there. I know I’m just a freshman and I really appreciate the opportunity.”

As the opportunities keep coming — and if Abrahamson keeps delivering — then the John Shurna comparisons are likely to keep coming. But just 15 points into his college career, Abrahamson knows better than to make anything of them.

“Those are some pretty big shoes to fill,” he said.