Well, the time has come. After nine months in charge of this wonderful website, I’m officially stepping down from the post of Editor-in-Chief.
It’s been an incredible stretch for me, and for that I have you — the readers, the listeners, the fans — to thank. Your support, your readership and your love for the team I covered were truly astonishing in a year that was incredible beyond words. Running a website challenged me but made me better, and you all being there along the way through the highs and the lows meant a lot.
I won’t be gone forever, though, so if you were looking to get rid of me, I’m sorry. I’ll be gone for the spring and the summer, but I’ll be back in the fall for football ready to spew hot takes left and right and talk some football.
I can’t officially announce the new Editors-In-Chief (yes, there are two) just yet, but both guys have done some phenomenal work for the site, and I’m really, really excited for them and confident in the talented staff around them to continue to produce bigger and better things than ever before.
Before I go, though, I’ll answer some questions. You asked (for some reason unbeknownst to me), and I answered (for no particular reason).
You don’t really want me to answer this, do you?
It was really the 2014 recruiting class of myself (Bryant McIntosh), Ian McCafferty (Vic Law Jr.) and Josh Burton (Scottie Lindsey), but I have to thank Henry Bushnell (Nathan Taphorn) and Josh Rosenblat (Sanjay Lumpkin) for giving us senior leadership and Kevin Trahan (Chris Collins) for giving us hope. And all the other people, too. It’s been a staff-wide effort. Trust the Process. Pound the Rock.
Is this where I write “Jared Sullinger”?
We got some serious questions, too, which was nice.
Yes, I think Northwestern will land a major recruit(s) and/or a grad transfer. The pool is simply too big right now, especially on the recruiting front, where Clifton Moore just got his letter of release from Indiana and Mark Smith is still hanging around. If Collins can’t pull in either of those two, he will almost assuredly add a graduate transfer; this team needs another guard and could use a true big man as well.
As for the biggest hole, I think it’ll be not having Sanjay Lumpkin. It’s really cliche to say that “stats don’t show his impact,” but it’s so true in Lumpkin’s case. He was a fantastic team defender and leader; those aren’t things you can just replace, no matter how much talent you have.
For football: 8-4. The ceiling is a Big Ten West crown. The floor is 6-6. There’s too much talent and experience for this team to miss a bowl game. Even this year, after injuries and losses to Western Michigan and ILLINOIS STATE (?!?!?!) to start, the Wildcats made a bowl game. This year, they’ll contend for the West crown, but I think they’ll fall short.
For basketball, it’s a lot tougher because the schedule remains TBD. If I had to guess, though, Northwestern schedules a tougher non-conference slate but is a noticeably better team and wins 21-24 games, finishes top five in a more competitive Big Ten and wins two games in the NCAA tournament.
Mike Deneen: Which NU sport do you wish could get more coverage?
This one’s pretty easy for me: swimming and diving. I mean, Olivia Rosendahl won a national championship in diving and her home pool doesn’t even have a diving platform. Jordan Wilimovsky was an Olympian and will probably be an Olympian two more times at least.
Mike Deneen What advice are you giving the new editor?
Cover more swimming and diving.
No, in all seriousness, have fun with it. There’s nothing like the access Northwestern provides for its student-athletes, and it’s an absolute blast. Also, try to get more sleep than I did.
Mike Deneen: Favorite NU athlete or coach to cover?
Thanks for everything, guys. It’s been fun. See y’all in the fall.