Star rating: 3
Who is he?
Cobb is a multi-faceted guard who has had an up and down career at Northwestern. As a freshman in 2010/11, he was a regular starter and contributor on one of Bill Carmody's better NU teams. But his sophomore year was frequently interrupted by injuries, and prior to his junior season, he was hit with a year-long suspension by Carmody and the school, reportedly for academic reasons.
Last year, after a full season on the sidelines and with a clean bill of health, Cobb had his best campaign as a Wildcat. He put up career high averages in almost all major statistical categories, and was one of the team's most consistent performers.
At 6-foot-5, his length plays a major factor on both ends of the floor. Though not the quickest, he's a rangy defender on the perimeter, and is a major rebounding aide from the guard position. On offense, he can play either guard spot or small forward, and is best known for his scoring. He can be susceptible to the temptation of bad shots - long 2-pointers in particular - but his ability to facilitate offense is unmatched on this current Northwestern roster.
What are the expectations heading into this year?
Cobb will be counted on to do a lot for this NU team. He saw significant time at both guard spots last season, and was great deputizing as the lead ball-handler, as he posted by far the best assist-to-turnover ratio of his career. So even with more depth at the point, that portion of his role shouldn't change.
Cobb is a unique player whom Collins loves because he allows the team do a number of things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Because of his height and athleticism, he allows them to switch ball screens on the perimeter, and because of his playmaking ability, he allows the offense to be more potent from more spots on the floor. With Crawford gone, Cobb will need to pick up more of the scoring slack - 15-plus points per game is a healthy target - but his versatility and comprehensive skillset mean he'll do at least a little bit of everything.
However, first and foremost for Cobb might be his health, which we recently detailed in considerable depth. Cobb is the most talented all-around player on this team, but that talent will go to waste if his body breaks down, as it has done during every one of his three seasons in Evanston. So staying on the court will be his primary goal. If he accomplished that, the production will naturally follow.