Carmody Counting On New-Look Mirkovic

Northwestern senior center Luka Mirkovic has made some major appearances—both to appearance and his game. The Wildcats' offensive system relies on an active center, and Bill Carmody is hopeful that Mirkovic's improvements will pay off this season.

Luka Mirkovic has a new look this season.

Now a senior, Mirkovic dropped 20 pounds, is going to play without his trademark facemask this season, and completely shaved his head, drawing the nickname, "Baldeaglevic", from his teammates.

Mirkovic's new slim, athletic frame has paid dividends during Northwestern's first two weeks of practice—leading him to a well-rounded game. In addition, he is now seeing the game differently, and is acting differently, too.

"(Mirkovic) said after practice last week, ‘the game has slowed down for me, I see things before they happen—one step ahead,'" NU head coach Bill Carmody said. "He just seems more mature right now."

The Princeton offense calls for the center to be active, and Carmody hopes Mirkovic—with his newfound mobility—can become a more dynamic part of the offense.

"The center in our offense handles the ball as much as the point guard," Carmody said. "I expect them to make passes; a lot of stuff goes through them. Mirkovic is a smart player. He has to play like a senior."

Carmody is planning to utilize both Luka Mirkovic and fellow senior Davide Curletti as a platoon. He has high hopes for the duo this season.

"Last year, I said we have to get 12 (points) and eight (rebounds) out of that position. This year, I think we can get 16 (points) and 12 (rebounds)," Carmody said. "I think that between Mirkovic and Curletti, I'm expecting those guys as a tandem to handle that position."

Mirkovic averaged 7.4 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game during his junior season, while starting in every game.

While Mirkovic is making significant adjustments to his overall game, Carmody hopes he can make one major mental adjustment.

"Feeling good about himself," said Carmody. "He can't question himself; he's got to be able to knock down open shots. If our centers can hit shots at the top, it helps us immensely."

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