NU's Abrahamson has seen playing time dip
Feb 08, 2013 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A bar graph of Kale Abrahamson's playing time would resemble a ski slope.
Northwestern's freshman swingman played 27 minutes at Penn State, then 19 against Iowa, 14 at Illinois, 10 against Indiana, two against Minnesota and one at Nebraska.
Why the sharp drop-off
"Your guess is as good as mine," said Abrahamson, who is refreshingly blunt. "I thought I played well in those games with 20-plus minutes. I'm trying not to let it affect my confidence."
Abrahamson said he has not asked the coaches for an explanation.
"I don't think it's my job to beg for minutes," he said. "I think my play speaks for itself. I'm just trying to prove myself in practice, even more so now."
With the Wildcats (13-10, 4-6 Big Ten) returning to Abrahamson's home state of Iowa on Saturday to take on the Hawkeyes (14-9, 3-7), NU coach Bill Carmody was asked if he's inclined to giving the West Des Moines native a shot.
"I have soft spots in my heart," Carmody replied, "but when I go into a game, I'm trying to win. But some guys play well at home; they play above (what's expected). So we'll see. He'll certainly get a crack, and we'll see what he does."
Abrahamson scored 15 points in 19 minutes in his first college game, drilling three 3-pointers against Texas Southern.
He averaged 25.8 minutes in his first four Big Ten games and played reasonably well, averaging 8.3 points on 10-for-23 shooting, including 9-for-18 from 3-point range. He didn't tally many rebounds (11) or assists (3) over 103 minutes but also turned the ball over only four times.
But the Wildcats went 1-3 in those games with three blowout defeats.
"I thought we needed to switch it around a little -- just the combination of guys," Carmody said. "Tre (Demps) was playing very well in practice."
And Alex Marcotullio's back spasms subsided. Those two have gobbled up Abrahamson's minutes.
The Wildcats played with remarkable efficiency Saturday in their 75-60 thrashing of Purdue, assisting on 24 of 26 baskets while shooting 53.1 percent.
Coincidence or not, Abrahamson played only one minute. So you can understand Carmody's reluctance to alter the rotation.
NU's last meeting with Iowa was a disaster, a 20-point home loss Jan. 13.
"They out-physicaled us, out-toughed us and out-hustled us," point guard Dave Sobolewski said. "We did a good job against Purdue of getting the 50-50 balls. If we keep that mentality, we think we have a good shot."
And with friends and family in attendance, Abrahamson hopes he will get a shot.
"I have a lot of old basketball friends (there), so I expect a lot of heckles," he said. "Should be fun."
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