Men’s Basketball: Cobb making a silent impact for Wildcats

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Junior guard JerShon Cobb attempts a shot against Illinois last season. Cobb was suspended in September for failing to maintain his grades, but is now practicing with the team.

Josh Walfish, Reporter

JerShon Cobb made headlines last September for the wrong reasons.

The junior was suspended for the entire year by coach Bill Carmody for violating team rules, mainly regarding academics.  The Wildcats lost a guard who, when healthy, was capable of scoring 20 points per game, which he nearly did at the end of last season when he averaged 18.7 and hit two-thirds of his shots over a three-game stretch in March.

Speaking to the media last week for the first time since the suspension, Cobb talked about his long road back and hope for the future. He said he did think about transferring but realized he wanted to stay at Northwestern, his answers reflecting contrition.

“I made the mistakes and not anybody else,” Cobb said. “It’s just me maturing and growing up and stepping up for my actions.”

Cobb was barred from practicing with the team during Fall Quarter while he tried to get his grades back up to standard. After his grades were released, Cobb was allowed back onto the practice court and has since been charged with leading the scout team, most of the time emulating the Cats’ opponent’s best player. Cobb said he felt a sense of ease once he saw his grades, which he called one of his best quarters at NU, though he declined to give a specific grade point average.

“I was very relieved,” Cobb said. “I was thinking, ‘Hard work paid off,’ and, ‘Work harder next quarter.'”

Cobb’s return to the court on the scout team has been a welcome sight for NU, which has struggled to maintain enough healthy bodies. Carmody joked having Cobb back saved assistant coach and former Cats player Tavaras Hardy (Weinberg ’02) from having to get back into shape to help in practice. Carmody added Cobb makes the scout team seem more genuine because of his talent and basketball IQ.

What impresses Cobb’s newest teammates most, however, is his passion and competitiveness on the scout team. Senior forward Jared Swopshire, who joined NU this season after transferring from Louisville, said Cobb brought a boost to the team with his “competitive spirit.” Meanwhile, freshman Kale Abrahamson said playing with Cobb next year would be great based on what he has shown on the scout team.

“He’s stepped up the level of intensity on the scout team, so we really have to play a different level of defense in practice,” the forward said. “He seems like a great scorer, a great teammate and should be fun to play with.”

Even though Carmody said he is happy with Cobb’s production on the scout team, he reported being even happier with the junior’s new attitude. He said it is nice to see him doing what he needs to do, adding he feels like Cobb has changed since the suspension.

“He’s taking care of business now, and that’s the important thing,” Carmody said. “We’re all there supporting him, and he seems like he’s a changed man, which is great.”

The playing time on the scout team has been somewhat therapeutic for Cobb. The junior said it is difficult for him to watch the team play, especially with all the injuries, knowing he could help them out. However, he said he’s grateful to be back on the court with his teammates during practice.

“If you’re competitive and something you’ve been doing all your life is taken away from you, it’s hard to watch,” Cobb said. “Taking practice away as well as playing is very tough, so getting one aspect back is very big.”

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