After Northwestern received some bad news earlier this week with Jaren Sina's commitment to Seton Hall, the Wildcats received some good news Friday when Drew Crawford announced that he would stay in Evanston to play his final season of eligibility. Crawford was injured early last season and will receive a medical hardship waiver to gain a fifth year of eligibility. Since he'll be graduating his June, he could have transferred to any school that offers a masters program NU doesn't, and according to the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein, Marquette and Missouri were interested. Crawford tweeted this Friday afternoon:
I'm excited to be at NU next year for one last season! I love my teammates and we're all ready to embrace Coach Collins' vision. #GoCats
— Drew Crawford (@TheRealDrewski1) April 19, 2013
Obviously, this is big news for NU, as the best player on the team will return and give the Wildcats a legitimate chance to be competitive in the Big Ten in Chris Collins' first year. NU is still a longshot to make the NCAA Tournament, but this might be the most talented team the Wildcats have ever had, with Crawford and JerShon Cobb starring, a solid point guard in Dave Sobolewski and a good group of young players in Tre Demps, Sanjay Lumpkin, Kale Abrahamson and Alex Olah.
We'll have more on what this means for NU tomorrow, but for now, here's Chris Johnson's column from Thursday on why Crawford means so much to next year's team. All in all, this is a win for Collins, and it gives NU a strong core of players coming back next year, which means this team could be better than a lot of people are expecting, despite having to work out the kinks of a coaching change.