Nervous? No. Anxious? Well, maybe.
Northwestern’s Kale Abrahamson is a 6-foot-7 freshman guard who is trying to find his way through a demanding Big Ten basketball schedule. His coach, Bill Carmody, thinks the former West Des Moines Valley standout has finally settled down.
“He’s not a “Nervous Nelly’ kind of guy, but he wants to do well,” Carmody said. “He was anxious. Now it just seems like he’s, “OK, I know what I’m doing out here. I’m a ballplayer and I’m going to play.’ And he just seems to be doing that.”
Abrahamson scored a career-high 16 points in the Wildcats’ 71-61 loss at Michigan State Sunday. Next up is a game against Iowa Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago, Ill.
Abrahamson, who averaged 18.6 points as a senior at Valley and was a Des Moines Sunday Register first-team all-State Class 4-A selection, picked Northwestern over the Hawkeyes.
“He can score,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He can shoot the ball from 3-point range. He’s a pretty athletic kid. He’s long. I thought he fit with our style of play. I’m not surprised that he’s playing well.”
Abrahamson is averaging 5.1 points and 1.9 rebounds, with 16 starts. He is shooting 35.8 percent from 3-point distance. Sunday was Abahamson’s fifth double-figure scoring game. Four of them have come in Big Ten games.
It’s been a rough season for the Wildcats, who have lost players like JerShon Cobb, Drew Crawford and Jared Swopshire throughout the course of the season. Northwestern has lost its last eight games, and 10 of the last 11.
Iowa swept the Wildcats this season, 70-50 in Jan. 19 in Evanston, Ill., and 71-57 on Feb. 9 in Iowa City.
Abrahamson’s play of late has been a bright spot.
“There are a few freshmen that come in and are ready to go, but most come in and take a little time,” Carmody said. “Overall, I think things have slowed down for him a bit. He’s not quite as anxious, and gotten to the basket a few times pretty nicely. It’s just normal growth.”
About three weeks ago, Carmody pulled Abrahamson aside and told him he though he’d matured as a player.
“He seems to be growing up a little bit,” Carmody said. “He’s understanding things, and working harder in practice trying to guard guys. He’s being more physical. I thought (Sunday) working against (Adreian) Payne, that was a tough matchup but I thought he really competed with him physically. That was great to see.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball