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Northwestern has issues to address, with or without Bill Carmody

Updated: April 11, 2013 6:48AM



The lobby of Penn State’s new basketball facility was designed to be round, like a basketball, with curved-glass trophy cases, a maple floor, plenty of natural light and views of the nearby mountains.

Nebraska’s new locker rooms look like the inside of a cathedral. Every wooden locker is equipped with a built-in iPad and A/V jacks so players can play their music throughout the facility.

Northwestern would have state-of-the-art facilities, too, if this were 1955, which is a factor that can’t be overlooked while the fate of coach Bill Carmody is being decided in the coming days.

Recent improvements at Penn State and Nebraska highlight how difficult it is for the Wildcats to compete for recruits with the other
programs at the bottom of the Big Ten standings, let alone at the top, and that’s not taking their stringent academic requirements into
consideration.

Whether Carmody will return for a 14th season is the question hanging over NU (13-17, 4-13 Big Ten) as it prepares for its regular-season finale Sunday against No. 10
Michigan State (23-7, 12-5) at the Breslin Center.

It is a far more complicated issue than it might appear for reasons that extend beyond the Wildcats’ lack of facilities. The pro-Carmody and anti-Carmody factions have
become so polarized that guard Reggie Hearn’s development is
being viewed by some as the result of Carmody’s coaching and by others as happening despite it.

Supporters use Hearn’s ascent from a walk-on to a starter as an
example of Carmody’s ability to
develop players. Detractors wonder why Hearn didn’t play sooner.

Hearn doesn’t hold a grudge, even though he played only 72 combined minutes during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

‘‘I’ve seen a lot of development under coach Carmody [in] the way I see the floor, especially on the
offensive side of the ball but also on defense,’’ Hearn said. ‘‘I’ve just kind of tapped into his philosophy, the way he does offensive sets and everything.’’

The Wildcats will be the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten tournament and will play Minnesota, Illinois or Iowa at 8 p.m. Thursday at the United Center in a game that might mark the end of the Carmody era.



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