Sobolewski set for reunion

Former AAU teammates Dave Sobolewski and Chasson Randle face off on Thursday. Sobo talks reunion, state of the point guard role.

Dave Sobolewski will see a familiar face on the other side of the court when the Northwestern guard travels to Palo Alto for Thursday night's game against Stanford. Cardinal guard Chasson Randle played alongside Sobolewski on the Illinois Wolves AAU team throughout the duo's high school careers.

Three years after the end of their AAU days, both players will be instrumental to any success their respective college teams have this season. Randle demonstrated his offensive potential this week when he put together an impressive 33-point night against BYU, a personal best that also marks the highest single-game total for any Stanford player since 2010.

"Chasson's a great player and he has been ever since we started playing together as freshmen in high school," Sobolewski said. "He's a great athlete and a great competitor. So we'll be friendly before and after the game, but for those forty minutes it will be a war, and we're really looking forward to the hard-fought game that's ahead of us."

Thursday's game will mark the second time the former teammates have played each other in college. They both struggled to make a significant scoring impact in last season's 70-68 Stanford win, combining for just nine points. However, their 66 combined playing minutes demonstrate their importance to their respective teams.

While Randle and Sobolewski are now both under the leadership of Coach K protégés, the Northwestern guard has had significantly less time to get acclimated to the new system. Collins has maintained some aspects of the Princeton offense that Sobolewski operated under during the Carmody days, but much of the style is new to the program.

Sobolewski likens his role as point guard in today's Northwestern offense to that of his freshman year. The similarities are not so much based on the offensive system as they are on the other weapons surrounding him that relieve some of the pressure.

"With the new system there are going to be different opportunities and different things the team needs you to do, especially with the new team we've got this year with JerShon and Drew back on the wings," Sobolewski said. "It really does change my role to more of a distributor getting the ball to the scorers we didn't have last year."

Sobolewski played for 25 minutes in Northwestern's season opener, significantly less than his average from the past two seasons, but that was more likely due to the comfortable nature of the win rather than any systematic changes. Exactly how his role may shift will become clearer as Collin's first season at the helm develops.

For now, the Naperville native is focused on facilitating the offense as he has for the first two years of his career and establishing a strong defensive presence on the other side. The transition has not necessarily been easy for him, but everyone in the program now feels the results of their hard work starting to show.

"There have been growing pains, but we've had a long time with the new staff now. So right now we feel really good with where we're at and we're making huge strides each week," Sobolewski said. "It's a fun time to be in this program and to see the improvements we're making on a daily basis."

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