Bill Carmody will return to Northwestern

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Despite missing the NCAA tournament in 2011-12, Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips reaffirmed that coach Bill Carmody will be back next season with the Wildcats.

“Bill Carmody is under contract to be our men’s basketball coach and has the full support of the athletic department and university,” said Phillips in a statement. “We had another solid season competitively, but let me be perfectly clear: We are not satisfied. We are, however, optimistic that our program will continue to get better on the court while always maintaining a standard of excellence in academic success, NCAA compliance, social behavior and the development of young men.”

Carmody is 179-190 in his tenure in Evanston, though still unable to get over the top and into the Big Dance.

After missing the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats took part in the NIT, beating Akron before losing to Washington in the second round last week.

Northwestern finished with a record of 19-14, including 8-10 in the Big Ten. Much of the Wildcats’ success is credited to senior John Shurna, who averaged nearly 20 points per game in 2011-12.

Without Shurna next season, questions have been raised as to whether Northwestern can compete on the same level and contend for a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats have three players signed for the Class of 2012, including Iowa product Kale Abrahamson, a three-star recruit.

Though Shurna is graduating, five players from the Wildcats’ regular rotation are returning to the program. Drew Crawford, Shurna’s complement at 16 points per game last season, enters his senior year in 2012-13 and will most likely be the centerpiece.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_