By Joe Henricksen
Benet Academy point guard David Sobolewski could not pass up the basketball and educational opportunity Northwestern offered as he immediately snatched up the recent scholarship from the Wildcats.
"I can't describe how excited I am to be joining the Northwestern program," says Sobolewski, who had visited Northwestern twice. "It's clearly a program on the rise. They were close to making the tournament a year ago, and I think they will this year. There are special things to come at Northwestern."
And now Sobolewski, who is among the top 20 prospects in the Hoops Report Class of 2011 player rankings, will be a part of it. After receiving over a dozen offers from mid-major programs, the 6-1 point guard received the one he really wanted.
"On my visits I felt like it was the place I wanted to be," says Sobolewski, who scored a 31 on his ACT. "Obviously the academics are great, but the guys in the program were genuine."
Sobolewski's reputation grew over the second half of the season as he led Benet Academy to the supersectional, where Benet fell to Simeon in an overtime heartbreaker. He continued with his strong play this spring on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Wolves and then solidified himself with a sterling performance Friday night in the Division I Elite Invitational in Indiana. Northwestern coach Bill Carmody took in Sobolewski's effort Friday night, while assistant coach Tavaras Hardy was on hand all day Saturday watching the poised point guard who had plenty of people talking throughout the weekend in Indiana.
With so many offers already on the table heading into July, Sobolewski said he didn't necessarily feel pressure heading into the evaluation period.
"It's just playing basketball," Sobolewski said of going out and playing in front of coaches in July. "I knew if things didn't go exactly how I wanted them to in July that I had very good places to fall back on. I wanted to go out and play and, thankfully, things have turned out great."
With a strong basketball I.Q., strength and poise, along with the ability to make the right pass and knock down shots, Sobolewski continued to defy critics and skeptics throughout his junior year. He scored over 40 points in a game as a sophomore and then poured in 41 points -- in just three quarters -- in a regional game this past March. What Sobolewski proved over and over again is the ability to handle the point guard position against high-level guards. He simply doesn't get rattled and has a nice combination of playmaking and scoring ability.
Northwestern continues to hit the Chicago area and be a factor more than ever before, with a large part of the credit going to assistant coach Tavaras Hardy. The Wildcats are on the verge of enjoying success the program has not seen before with a roster littered with Illinois products, including point guard Juice Thompson (Lincoln Park) and former City/Suburban Hoops Report player of the Year Drew Crawford (Naperville Central), who shared Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors a year ago.