Basketball teams face holes in line-ups

By Andrew Singer and Jimmy Johnson

Both the NIU women’s and men’s basketball teams will head into the 2010-11 season with holes left by players no longer with the teams.

Kathi Bennett, entering her first year as women’s head coach, has to deal with the departure of forward Mauvolyene Adams. While after a turbulent offseason, men’s head coach Ricardo Patton was left without center Sean Kowal. The question is: who’s interior presence left the bigger void to fill.

Andrew Singer: The first elephant in the room to address is the fact that both of these players left with athletic eligibility left. Kowal left after a much publicized desire to attend graduate school outside of NIU. While Adams left the women’s team without much of an explanation. Early reports had her and Bennett at odds, then Adams later explained back troubles were too much to get ready in time for the year.

So, the first actual question to answer is whether or not fans of either team should miss Kowal or Adams? Obviously neither had their teams at the top of their priority list.

Jimmy Johnson: On the surface, these situations were just an eye sore. To be fair to all parties, Kowal, Adams and both programs were ready to move on due to their own respective reasons. Kowal wanted to continue his academic career, while according to Adams, the pain in her back was too much to handle. It isn’t fair to say that Adams didn’t have her former comrades in mind when she was thinking about her health and well being.

AS: Fair enough, both had great public relation friendly reasons for leaving. Moving to the more pertinent issue of which player left a bigger void to fill for their respective head coaches. Looking at past credentials, Adams is the clear cut winner, however, if one takes into account what numbers the players would have put up this year, then Kowal quickly becomes the answer. Listed at 6-foot-11, Kowal could have been something special this year. Growing as a player every year up until his departure, one could easily suggest that Kowal could have averaged a double-double this year.

JJ: Except he wasn’t. I’m not the reincarnation of the late John Wooden, but it doesn’t take a basketball genius to know that Kowal could have been a force in the MAC. He’s almost seven feet tall yet he failed to average a double-double. Forget what they could have done and focus on what they did. Adams started every game last season and put up almost 10 rebounds a game while remaining a force offensively. She also had 11 double-doubles while Kowal led the men’s team with just four.

AS: Adams was a force last year, but the fact remains that her back would have been a major issue this year if she had decided to play. She can’t be considered a bigger loss for this season, because no one knows how she would have preformed with the ailment. Kowal on the other hand was perfectly healthy at the end of last year and would have been ready to progress as a player in 2010. Adams reached her peak last year and that’s just a fact all NIU lady baller fans have to deal with.