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Coble walks away, Northwestern misses out

Northwestern’s never made the NCAA tournament.

It missed a golden opportunity last season when forward Kevin Coble missed year because of foot surgery. As a junior in 2008-09, he averaged 15.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and was second-team All-Big Ten. Without his talents, the Wildcats finished 20-14 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten.
If they hope to snap that streak in 2010, they’ll have to do it without Coble. Again.

Coble released a statement Tuesday announcing he’ll graduate in December and pass on playing more basketball.

“The recovery of my foot is most important and extends far beyond my basketball career,” Coble said. “I will continue to follow my surgeon’s rehabilitation schedule and have been told by my surgeon that I will have a full recovery. I will not be transferring to another school and with that, will be finishing the last of my classes at Northwestern this fall.”

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was reportedly taken aback by Coble’s decision, but should take comfort in knowing that forward John Shurma - who posted 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game last season - will be around this season.

Still, it’d be nice to have Coble around. There’s no room for error in next season’s Big Ten.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.