Abrahamson stayed focused on this year's team and then made his difficult choice when the season ended. The Des Moines, Iowa native wanted an expanded role, and during a "professional" conversation, Collins said he understood.
"Collins has been supportive of everything," Abrahamson told PurpleWildcats.com. "He told me he'd help me wherever I wanted to go."
The school announced the transfer Monday afternoon—the day Abrahamson was granted his release. Now, he can reflect on an NU career that hopefully precedes something even more successful.
Abrahamson signed with Northwestern in August 2011, becoming one of the team's best recruits under Bill Carmody. As a freshman, the potential was there. He reached double figures in four conference games, including a 6-of-11, 16-point outing against Michigan State.
After the season, Chris Collins replaced Carmody and ushered in change.
"It's been a tumultuous time with Northwestern basketball," Abrahamson admitted. "Whenever a new coach comes in, it's completely different. I tried to adjust, and I thought I helped the team."
Abrahamson, in fact, did provide some of the upside during a tough season. By majority opinion, the Wildcats overachieved by winning six conference games. Most of that arrived when struggling point guard Dave Sobolewski went down with an injury.
Suddenly known as an "effort" guy, the sophomore—who has two years of eligibility remaining—entered the starting lineup. His improved defense and occasional scoring provided a spark for NU, which won five of seven during a memorable stretch of basketball.
But the opportunities dried up. Under Collins, he attempted 3.4 shots per game compared to 4.5 the year before. He was stranded as a fringe role player, with Collins bringing in five of his own recruits next season.
"I tried to throw myself into what Coach Collins was doing," he said. "We had a fun season. I was totally invested in that, but I had to think about the future as well."
On paper, it seems simple. In reality, it's a more difficult process. He leaves behind his best friend, center Alex Olah, and extremely fond memories of his time at NU. Still, it became apparent to him that a future in basketball was more promising elsewhere.
Nothing much has taken shape during the transfer process given that Abrahamson was granted his release today. Left with "a lot of thoughts and not a lot of answers," he looks to round out his offensive game and build on the defensive skills that Collins taught him.
He's already been through a great deal at Northwestern: coaching changes, benching and frequent losses. But if there's anything Abrahamson can take away, it's his attitude. His two-year legacy here might not stand out, but Kale Abrahamson leaves to face a promising future—one he undoubtedly deserves.