Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball: Ranking the Top 5 Recent Players Fans Hate Most
When I got onto the beautiful campus of Iowa in 2008, the Hawkeye basketball team was in year two of the Todd Lickliter "rebuilding" plan. Luckily the Iowa faithful aren't still stuck waiting for that plan to come to fruition.
Although Lickliter didn't have the same success as he did at Butler (131-61 overall as opposed to 38-57 at Iowa), he did provide Hawkeye fans with something...
He was responsible for recruiting 4 of the 5 most hated players on this list.
Some of you may be asking, "Why is he going to be negative and rank 5 of the most recent hated Iowa players?"
It's a warranted question, with two answers:
1. The Hawkeye football team lost to Central Michigan on Saturday to go 2-2 on the season, so in order to prevent myself from going into a deep, cycling depression, I'd rather place my burdens on others by rehashing the past and being a bully.
2. I have been WAY too optimistic about Iowa Basketball lately and I am now starting to think I may be a bit of a jinx.
Though this list is a bit daunting, while reading, just keep THIS smiling face in the back of your head.
#5: Eric May
He's like a complicated Sherlock Holmes mystery that is impossible to crack. And during the 2011-12 season, the only way to solve the mystery was by not paying attention to it (it being a career-low, 14.7 minutes per game in 2011-12).
At the end of the day, the Hawkeye faithful aren't asking for a Blake Griffin reincarnate. All they want is the athletic, physical guard May was during his freshman year, rather than a timid fish that flops around on the floor.
His up-and-down play, his missed dunks/lay-ups, his turnovers (third on the team with 60 in 2010-11, right behind point guard Bryce Cartwright and somewhat enigmatic teammate Melsahn Basabe) and ill-advised 3-point shots have put May on the "quick to judge" list.
Justifiably, he has every reason to be there.
But, out of all of the players on this list, May can change his stars among Iowa fans during his upcoming senior season.
Hopefully he can remove himself from this list in the next six to seven months.
#4: John Lickliter
I can't figure out if fans hated John Lickliter because he was the coaches kid, or because he was the coaches kid who also managed to find playing time.
Hell, it could have been because he was nothing more than a 5'9" (listed at 5'11"), somewhat chubby, NAIA walk-on caliber basketball player that received all the free perks and Nike gear students and fans dreamed of having.
Either way, Lickliter was not a fan favorite.
During the 2009-2010 season, when Coach Lickliter would call on Lil' Lick, the audible groans and united "facepalms" were extremely prevalent inside of Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Okay, so it wasn't very hard to hear the groans and see the fans slapping their heads because of the limited number of actual Hawkeye supporters in the stands.However, even if he was only hated by the 4 of us that actually showed up it was still uniformly accepted between us.
Honestly, the only reason he got playing time and made this list was because of our #2 ranked hated player's inability to drink alcohol and not become a raging lunatic.
#3: Brennan Cougill
To be honest, Iowa fans should have known what kind of player Brennan Cougill was based on the first few words of his ESPN scouting report,
Cougill does not have great leaping ability or quickness, but he has a big body...
Cougill's weight was an issue from the moment he walked onto campus. There were diet plans and conditioning practices put into place, but none of that works if the player doesn't want to follow them.
True story: In 2009, I found myself in one of the dorm cafeterias. As I was waiting in line for a delectable breaded chicken sandwich, there was a blond behemoth ahead of me who skipped the chicken and went for the onion rings—a plate full, in fact. I'm talking Bloomin' Onion style. Cougill didn't bring them back to his table like a regular human being, though. Instead, he proceeded to eat the entire plate while waiting in the pizza line—grabbing four pieces to help wash down the taste of fried onions.
Whatever diet that is, 70 percent of Americans want to be on it.
The weight thing wasn't Cougill's only issue, however.
He also wasn't too keen on "hitting the books."
After the 2009-2010, Cougill found himself academically ineligible after a grade appeal.
Then he opened his mouth,
“I knew I didn’t get my full effort in,” Cougill said. “I could have done way better. It’s disappointing. I let my team down, I let my coaching staff and, most importantly, I let myself down. It was a dream come true for me to be at Iowa, and that dream is being taken away.”
Thank you for taking your basketball career and free ride so seriously, big guy.
#2: Anthony Tucker
Anthony Tucker really bit the big one in Iowa City. The 6'4" shooting guard from Minnesota was supposed to be the linchpin for Coach Lickliter's offensive game plan as a floor spacer because of his surreal ability to shoot the basketball.
Oh, the fluidity of that jump shot.
It was pretty. Everything about him as a basketball player was exciting, even back then. He had real talent, he just needed to keep himself in check.
Then Downtown Iowa City happened.
Tucker was first arrested, and subsequently suspended, in December 2008 after being found in a drunken coma in an alley behind a local bar. Then, he was ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the 2008-09 season.
Tucker then seemingly got his life in order. He was embarrassed and spoke of changes to his lifestyle.
Johnson County District Court officials said that Tucker entered his plea Monday, though they could not confirm sentencing details Tuesday. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reported that Tucker will pay $195 in fines and fees.
Tucker was arrested by Iowa City police last week. Police say the 20-year-old Tucker, the team's second-leading scorer, accused the driver of taking his cell phone and allegedly was hitting the side of the cab.
Two arrests, academic ineligibility and, eventually, a release from his scholarship.
That's some quality player development right there.
Tucker seemed to enjoy ripping shots as much as he enjoyed taking them on the court, showing he couldn't handle the college lifestyle. He never cared, even when he tried to make Hawkeye fans believe he did.
It was his complete lack of emotion during his two-year fiasco that rubbed people the wrong way.
So, for his melancholy attitude and inability to realize he was the guilty not the innocent, he finds himself on this list.
But wait, there's more! Tucker got arrested a third time, this time at Winona State, for disorderly conduct.
What a quality individual.
(Why did I agree to write this piece? It's making things worse.)
#1: Pierre Pierce
I'm not sure how to handle the debacle that was Pierre Pierce's career at Iowa. He had everything in front of him—the NBA couldn't wait for him and the Hawkeyes needed him.
It was a downright brutal situation. A situation that should have been avoided or prevented.
For those of you that are unaware, or for those that need an ugly reminder, here's the timeline from ESPN:
DuPage County court record indicates Pierce was arrested and had to post bail on charges of criminal defacement and mob action for allegedly spray-painting his high school. Pierce disputes the court records.
Sept. 30, 2002
Pierce charged with third-degree sexual assault. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and apologized publicly for engaging in "inappropriate sexual conduct with a fellow student."
Pierce sits out season after plea bargain in sexual assault case.
Jan. 31, 2005
AP reports West Des Moines police want to interview Pierce.
Feb. 1, 2005
Misses practice amid reports of ongoing police investigation.
Feb. 2, 2005
Dismissed from Iowa basketball team by coach Steve Alford for "betraying the trust" of the program.
Then the hammer dropped. In October 2005, Pierce was sentenced to a two-year term for assault. He was released after 11 months for good behavior.
This is one of the ugliest stories the Iowa Athletic Department has ever had to deal with. When it came down to it, it was just another case of bad decision making by a young athlete. A decision that cost him time, money and his name.
I'm still not sure if Iowa fans in general hate Pierce or hate the situation.
Regardless, he belongs on this list.