Swopshire's transition moving smoothly

Jared Swopshire has Final Four experience under his belt, but is back to the basics with his new school. The fifth-year senior is preparing for his first year with Northwestern, but hopes to lead a hungry team.

Just three months ago, Jared Swopshire was playing in the Final Four as a member of the Louisville Cardinals.

On a hot July morning, Swopshire was putting in extra work in order to get acclimated with his new team, school and home, Northwestern.

Swopshire's resume with the Cardinals is impressive -- 109 games played, including 11 NCAA tournament contests. The fifth-year senior is learning with true freshmen in order to become one of the Wildcats' team leaders.

"It has been an adjustment," Swopshire said of the transition. "Coming from a different system and coming here, being the new guy, kind of like a freshman, almost. I'm expected to be a leader. I'm more than ready to do it."

During the offseason, Swopshire became one of Northwestern's most important new additions when he picked the Wildcats over Illinois, Kansas State, and Wake Forest, among others.

Swopshire will replace Northwestern's all-time leading scorer, John Shurna. While such shoes aren't easy to fill, he offers a different style of play at the power forward position.

"John (Shurna) was a three-point shooter; Jared doesn't shoot that many threes," Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said. "(Swopshire) attacks the offensive glass, he's very good posting up. He sees the court pretty well."

During the summer, the Wildcats are able to gather two hours per week due to a new NCAA rule. Those practice periods have helped Swopshire fit into his role with his new team.

"It's a different system, so I'm just trying to get adjusted to the offense," said Swopshire. "It has been great, my teammates really help me out a lot."

Jared Swopshire brings Northwestern Final Four playing experience.

However, that adjustment has come naturally for Swopshire, who will be 23 years old by the start of the season.

Carmody believes his new forward can handle the transition smoothly thanks to his past experience and versatile game.

"He's a pretty good all-around player," Carmody said of Swopshire. "He can dribble the ball, he can pass the ball, he competes. He wants to be good. I think playing for a coach at Louisville, (Rick) Ptinio, he's well schooled. He has played at the highest level -- he was a Final Four guy last year. He brings a maturity to us."

Thus far, Swopshire has earned the respect of his teammates, both for his work ethic, talent and grit.

"'Swop' is really tough, really tough," said Northwestern senior forward Drew Crawford. "He has especially surprised me in the post; his post game is really good. He has made some unbelievable moves in the post. I've tried to guard him a few times and he's really tough to guard. I'm really excited to be playing with him."

As a graduate student at Northwestern, Swopshire faces a light workload this summer. He is taking two classes, sports marketing and sports organization. Most of the time left during his day is spent with his Wildcat teammates.

On a team loaded with depth and talent, Swopshire and his new teammates have fueled each other to improve during the offseason.

"Everybody is bonding great, we're having fun," said Swopshire. "We're out there competing every day, in the gym, in the weight room. We're out there having fun."

Following yet another NCAA tournament miss, Northwestern likely faces its best chance to dance this upcoming season, much in part due to Swopshire's presence, forming a much-improved front court. His goal is to help the Wildcats win, and is determined to do whatever it takes.

"I'm going to leave it all out there on the floor," he said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to win."

Swopshire is optimistic Northwestern is in for a successful season.

"I think we can do some great things," he said. "Some really great things."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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