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Coble's departure a bummer for Big Ten

When news broke Tuesday that Northwestern forward Kevin Coble was leaving the Northwestern basketball program, I think the entire Big Ten was a little shocked.

Imagine if Jon Leuer suddenly announced he would forgo his senior season to concentrate on his degree.


There's more to this story that just academics, however. Coble hasn't had an easy ride in college. He missed some time early in his career while his mother battled breast cancer and he missed all of last season to a foot injury. The Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein reported Wednesday that "his rehabilitation caused an apparent conflict that led to multiple meetings among Carmody, Coble and Coble's mother, Carlys."

Greenstein also reported that Coble "rarely socialized with teammates or even sat with them for meals."

Still, the decision comes as a shock when you consider he was still one of the best players in the Big Ten and had Northwestern poised for its first NCAA Tournament berth ever. He had the ability to score 20 points per game and make the jump to the next level.

I was personally looking forward to seeing Coble play again this season and watching the Wildcats possibly compete for a Big Ten title. The former won't happen, but this is still a good basketball team and the latter is still a possibility. It would be great for the Big Ten if Northwestern could get the monkey off its back and reach the NCAA Tournament without Coble.

Since we are on the topic of basketball, the Wisconsin Badgers' 2010-11 Prospectus is out and it includes the numbers of the new guys.

Center Evan Anderson will wear Brian Butch's old digits (32), while guard Ben Brust will put on Marcus Landry's old number (1), Duje Dukan will don No. 13 and Josh Gasser will wear No. 21.

Meanwhile, in case you forgot about walk-on J.D. Wise, he will wear No. 22 and has sophomore eligibility. He played in only one game last season -- against Cal Poly -- and was ineligible for the spring semester.