"New normal" for Dave Sobolewski

Michael Hlebasko reflects on the 18-minute return of Northwestern's maligned former starting point guard Dave Sobolewski.

With Jershon Cobb's broken foot set to keep him out for most—if not all—of the remaining four Northwestern games, the team is left without its best ball handler. Cobb's absence will require Chris Collins to play Dave Sobolewski significant minutes (he started and played 18 against Indiana), which will probably be the last time in Sobolewski's Northwestern career that he does so.

A great deal of what Chris Collins wants to do requires a point guard who can get the ball moving quickly in the half court and find the correct players in position. Sobolewski spent two years as a reliable ball-handler with the ability to get the ball from free throw line to free throw line, but he is miscast in any role that requires playmaking. In all likelihood, the point guards next year will be McIntosh, Johnnie Vassar, and some combination of Cobb and Demps depending on the situation. It's tough to see room for a 26 percent shooter who averages almost as many turnovers as assists.

Regardless of your opinion on his ability to help this team next year, it's hard not to hope that Sobolewski will contribute something. He's been an incredibly hard worker since he arrived on campus. He was one of the most improved players in the conference last season, and he barely left the court because he was often the player capable of getting the ball up the court.

Sobolewski has handled his demotion this year with poise and grace, always keeping a positive face and as far as I can tell, still being a good teammate and captain. Whether Sobolewski ever has an impact on the court again or not, I believe that he has a positive impact on the program as a whole.

While using a scholarship on that kind of player is a luxury that a team with as little talent as Northwestern can't really afford, he's here. And because he's likely never going to return to anything resembling his role in his first two seasons, we need to find a new lens to view his participation through.

We're not going to learn much from these next four games, unfortunately. Olah has a chance to assert himself even further, and perhaps someone can emerge as the more reliable option between Taphorn and Abrahamson. But, the point guard situation isn't likely going to be settled in these games because the people we expect to settle it aren't here yet.

Dave Sobolewski will play significant minutes at point guard in these games, but for the first time in his Northwestern career it will seem strange. We have a "new normal" for Dave Sobolewski now, and it's as just a peripheral part of the rotation.

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