Currently wrapping up his senior year at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, 6-foot-7 sharp-shooting forward Kale Abrahamson will officially begin practice at Northwestern in June. Along with Abrahamson, the Wildcats boast an impressive group of newcomers including three-star guard Sanjay Lumpkin, skilled big man Alex Olah, and transfers Nikola Cerina from TCU and Jared Swopshire from Louisville.
Despite the loss of Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer John Shurna, the Wildcats will boast one of their deepest teams ever. Starters Drew Crawford, Dave Sobolewski, and Reggie Hearn return with key reserve Alex Marcotullio to chase the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament bid. Though playing time could be tight with all the talent on the roster, Abrahamson isn’t worried about what his role might be.
“I just really want to help the team win,” Abrahamson explained. “It was tough watching them getting so close to the tourney and then fall short. I always have confidence in myself and I hope our team will have confidence too; we have all the talent and the personnel. The Big Ten is tough every year, but we’ll see how it all works out in the end.”
Abrahamson is fresh off a terrific senior year both individually and with his team. Named First Team All-State by both the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Newspaper Association, Abrahamson led Valley to their goal: a long-awaited return to the state playoffs.
“We went to the state tournament for the first time in like 13 years, so we sort of got our school back on the map,” Abrahamson said. “We’d been a football school forever, so to get to state was big. We’re pretty proud of that.”
Abrahamson scored 13 points as Valley fell in the state quarterfinals, 66-60 to Sioux City East back in March. Though that loss was difficult for him, the prospect of Northwestern looms large on the horizon.
“I’m really excited about college in general, getting out of Iowa, seeing what Chicago is like and what Evanston has to offer,” said Abrahamson. “Obviously basketball’s going to be a big part of what I do [at Northwestern], and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the guys better and being part of the team.”
Though Northwestern is close to home, choosing the Wildcats means Abrahamson will return to Iowa regularly to face the Hawkeyes, who were also in contention for his services. The fact leaving his home state to attend Northwestern might not sit well with many Iowans isn’t lost on him.
“It’ll be a lot of fun coming back to play at Carver, I got a lot of buddies there,” explained Abrahamson. “They told me they’ll be wearing purple and all that, but still screaming and yelling to throw me off my game, so that’ll be a lot of fun.”
As Abrahamson prepares to graduate next month, he has shifted his focus toward preparing for the college season. The lanky forward will likely need to add weight for the wear and tear of Big Ten play, and is up for the challenge.
“I had a nagging ankle injury at the end of the season I’m taking care of,” said Abrahamson.” Once I get through with that, I’m really looking forward to getting back in the gym, lifting weights and doing basketball workouts to get ready for school this summer.”